800px-Tesla_Model_S_(108)Six severe software flaws have been discovered within Tesla Model S cars by cyber security researchers. That could allow malicious hackers to take control of the vehicle and put the driver at risk.

Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer of Lookout, and Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at Cloudflare, proved that Tesla Model S can be hacked, although the company has a better reputation for understanding of security software than most automakers.

In order to discover the vulnerabilities, the hackers had to physically access the Tesla systems first by connecting an Ethernet cable. Once they were connected, they were able to  take remote control of some vehicle functions. The hackers then were able to lock and unlock the car, lower and raise the windows, open and close the boot, control the radio and the screens: manipulate the content on the screens, such as altering the speedometer to show the wrong speed, as well as turn the car on or off.

They managed to shut the car down as it was driving at a low speed of five miles per hour. The hackers found out that they were able to use the emergency handbrake only if the vehicle was traveling at under five miles per hour. When they tried to gain control of the vehicle at higher speed, Tesla’s own safety measures turned on. Then the screens in the car went black and the driver regained control of the steering which allowed him to drive to the side of the road.

Mahaffey and Rogers are planning to provide a detailed account of their experiment at the cyber security conference Def Con  which is currently being held August 6-9, 2015 at Paris and Bally’s in Las Vegas.

Just stay tuned for more information.

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