Despite the Tesla Model S purportedly having “reliability” issues, there’s one thing the Model S has over its competition: security. Recent discussions have surrounded the report that security researchers were able to exploit a vulnerability in the Jeep UConnect infotainment software, which gave the security researchers subsequent access to the vehicle.
Since then, other security researchers have attempted hacking OnStar and more. At last week’s Def Con Hacking Conference in Las Vegas, security researchers Kevin Mahaffey and Marc Rogers discussed the many, many roadblocks they encountered when trying to hack a Tesla Model S.
However, the researchers did end up finding a vulnerability within Tesla’s Virtual Proxy Network (VPN) capabilities. Additionally, they discovered a vulnerability within the car’s software which enabled them to “shut down a moving Model S at low speed” and also giving them control over the car’s windows, doors, and suspension.
Although, the discovery of the aforementioned vulnerabilities took over two years to find and they would require physical access to the car. The researches added that Tesla was swift in patching the discovered vulnerabilities. What’s more, Tesla had implemented a plan in the event of power-loss.
“That in itself I think is a huge achievement that I’d like to call Tesla out for,” says Rogers. “This is a directly contrasting story to the Jeep story… Tesla had actually thought about the ramifications about what might happen and had designed the car to handle it gracefully and be safe… in such a way that catastrophic [failure] would not happen.”
The researchers praised Tesla for its over-the-air (OTA) update system, which allows them to quickly seed patches in the event of any future security vulnerabilities. Tesla places security at the forefront of its cars, having hired Chris Evans from Google’s Project Zero (a team comprised of hackers dedicated to finding zero-day exploits) to head up its security team.
Like all things, the Tesla Model S could still likely be hacked again. But, the researchers claim the Tesla Model S is the “most secure car that we’ve seen.”