Teen claims he hacked into over 25 Teslas in 13 countries

TechnologyTeen claims he hacked into over 25 Teslas in...


A 19-year-old hacker claims he was able to remotely open the doors and windows of more than 25 Tesla vehicles across 13 countries, as well as turn on their radios, flash their headlights and even start their engines and begin “keyless driving.”

David Colombo, who says he is an IT specialist based in Germany, also claims to have been able to disable the vehicles’ anti-theft systems and see if a driver is inside the car.

While Colombo originally claimed to have “full remote control” of the Teslas in a Monday tweet, he later clarified that he was never able to take over cars to “remotely control steering or acceleration and braking.”

“Yes, I potentially could unlock the doors and start driving the affected Tesla’s,” he tweeted. “No I can not intervene with someone driving (other than starting music at max volume or flashing lights) and I also can not drive these Tesla’s remotely.”

On Tuesday, Colombo tweeted that his hack was “not a vulnerability in Tesla’s infrastructure” but rather “it’s the owners faults.” On Monday, he had tweeted that “There seems to be no way to find the owners and report it to them.”

On Tuesday, Colombo said that he was contacted by officials at Tesla who are investigating the matter.

The Post has reached out to Tesla seeking comment.

Colombo’s Twitter thread went viral, racking up more than 6,600 reactions, 1,300 shares, and nearly 300 responses.

Colombo says he was able to remotely control locking and unlocking doors, opening windows, and disabling the anti-theft system.
davidcolombo/Twitter

According to his LinkedIn page, Colombo specializes in cybersecurity. He claims that he “wrote my first piece of code at the age of 10” and that his company’s goal is to “help every business to get protected from the ever-evolving and dangerous threat actors in the cyber space.”

Last fall, Tesla CEO Elon Musk pledged that he would work with regulators on ensuring that electric car drivers’ personal data is protected from the threat of hackers.

With the rapid growth of autonomous driving technologies, data security of vehicles is drawing more public concerns than ever before,” he told an electric vehicle conference in China via remote hookup.

By the year 2025, there will be an estimated 470 million vehicles that will be connected to a computerized database — making them ripe targets for cybercriminals.

By that same year, the automotive cybersecurity market is expected to be worth some $4 billion, according to Tech Monitor.

Colombo claimed on Twitter that he was able to disable Sentry Mode, an anti-theft technology in which a built-in camera becomes a de facto alarm system.

Once an alert is triggered, cameras begin recording around the proximity of the vehicle. The footage is then beamed to the vehicle’s owner through a mobile app.

FILE PHOTO: A row of Tesla Model S sedans are seen outside the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo
Colombo said the hack was not due to any vulnerability in Tesla’s infrastructure but was rather the result of the “owners’ faults.”
REUTERS

“I could also query the exact location, see if a driver is present and so on,” Colombo tweeted in his thread.

“The list is pretty long.”



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