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Tesla fixes security holes after Chinese researchers hack Model S

21 September 2016

After researchers from China hacked into the operating system of a Tesla electric car, the car maker has updated its software in its vehicles.

The team from Keen Security Lab remotely manipulated the brake system of a moving Tesla car from a distance of 12 miles (19km).

The hackers were also able to open a car door without using a key.

The hack came after months of research by the team at Keen Security Lab. They posted a video of their efforts earlier this week on YouTube.

In the experiment a hacker gained control of a vehicle from someone else who was behind the wheel. Using a laptop he also adjusted the rear-view mirror even as the driver changed lanes. The hacker then went on to open the trunk remotely, while the car was on the move.

According to commentators, the hack was notable for two reasons, one it was conducted from a distance of 12 miles, and the sheer amount of control it could wrest from the driver included manipulting brakes and windscreen wipers, and more.

The good news was that the security community was rising to the challenge of protecting cars from hackers and the researchers directly informed Tesla of their exploits before going public.

Keen Security Lab said on its blog that the researchers were able to remotely control some systems on the Tesla S in both driving and parking modes by exploiting the security bugs that were fixed by the automaker.

The blog said the researchers believed they  were the first to gain remote control of a Tesla vehicle by hacking into an onboard computer system known as a CAN bus.

"We have verified the attack vector on multiple varieties of Tesla Model S," the blog said. "It is reasonable to assume that other Tesla models are affected."

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