Teen hacker claims ability to control 25 Teslas worldwide


A row of Tesla Model S sedans outside the company’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California. The teen hacker didn’t reveal the exact details of the software vulnerability, but said it wasn’t within Tesla’s software or infrastructure and added that only a small number of Tesla owners globally were affected. — Reuters

Owners of more than 25 Tesla Inc cars in 13 countries around the world may be surprised to learn that their vehicles have apparently been hacked into remotely by a security researcher in Germany, who says he’s discovered a software flaw in the EV pioneer’s systems.

David Colombo, a 19-year-old self-described information technology specialist, tweeted Tuesday that the software flaw allows him to unlock doors and windows, start the cars without keys and disable their security systems.

Colombo also claimed he can see if a driver is present in the car, turn on the vehicles’ stereo sound systems and flash their headlights.

The teenager didn’t reveal the exact details of the software vulnerability, but said it wasn’t within Tesla’s software or infrastructure and added that only a small number of Tesla owners globally were affected. His Twitter thread elicited a robust response, with more than 800 retweets.

A message to Colombo on Twitter seeking comment wasn’t immediately answered. A representative for Tesla in China declined to comment, while the carmaker’s global press team didn’t respond to an email seeking comment outside of West Coast business hours.

According to one online report, US-based Tesla has a vulnerability disclosure platform where security researchers can register their own vehicles for testing, which Tesla can pre-approve. The company pays up to US$15,000 (RM62,752) for a qualifying vulnerability.

Colombo later tweeted he has been in touch with Tesla’s security team, who are investigating the issue and will come back to him with any updates. – Bloomberg

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