Watch a group of hackers hijack a Tesla’s brakes

Tesla has been forced to update its security software, following the release of a video from Chinese hacking collective Keen Security Lab that shows the group taking over the car’s brakes, door locks, sunroof, lights, wing mirrors and even seats.

Researchers from Keen Security Lab were able to do much of this while the car was in motion, from a distance of 12 miles. The video also shows the hackers hijacking the Tesla’s systems while sitting on the passenger seat – which seems like an excessive form of backseat driving.

The hackers went to Tesla with evidence of the hack before broadcasting it via YouTube to prevent real-world attacks, and Tesla has since rejigged its software using over-the-air updates. In response, a spokesperson for the company told Wired that the hack was only made possible thanks to a narrow set of circumstances.

“The issue demonstrated is only triggered when the web browser is used, and also required the car to be physically near to and connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot,” said the spokesperson. “Our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly.”

Regardless, the video doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in Tesla’s security, especially considering the methods are said by the hackers to work on other Tesla models, not only the S P85 and S 75D used in the video. The best thing Tesla drivers can do is to ensure their firmware is always up to date.

This isn’t the first challenge that Tesla has faced in convincing drivers of its cars’ safety. This summer a Model S vehicle crashed after it failed to distinguish a white lorry from the brightly lit sky in autopilot mode, killing its passenger.

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