The Tesla Model “S” is one of most advanced and innovative automobiles available and a group of security researchers shared vulnerabilities at the recent Blackhat Security Conference.  These findings were shared with the manufacturer who strengthened security and likely has a little more work in this area (as do many other automotive firms)

With a handful of self-driving vehicles already on the road, the car is poised to be the next vanguard for high technology. And Tesla’s all-electric vehicles are among the most advanced consumer vehicles on the road.   At Black Hat 2016, researchers from Tencent KeenLab demonstrated how to remotely take control of a Tesla Model S. Tesla quickly patched those vulnerabilities, but the Tencent team returned to Black Hat 2017 with a new slew of Tesla attacks.

But the researchers said they believed hacking should be fun, which is why their grand finale was a syncronized light show using the Tesla’s exterior lighting systems synched to music. Flashing patterns covered the vehicle, with the lights clearly operating in a way not intended by the manufacturer. The gull-wing doors even opened and bobbed up and down like rhythmic rabbit years

The researchers notified Tesla of their findings, and the company released an update package within 10 days that fixed many of the vulnerabilities in the long, complex chain required to gain control of a Model S.   The researchers praised Tesla, which updated the kernel to a much newer version, making it harder to exploit. Tesla also hardened its browser, with multiple ways to protect vehicle systems even when the browser was compromised. The company also added code signing, which ensures that only legitimate code can be accepted as an update and installed by the vehicle.