Chinese security company Qihoo 360 Security Technology announced the first successful hack of a Tesla Model S by Chinese hackers Thursday.
The company reported on its Sina Weibo social networking account that hackers were able to take remote control of the car’s headlights, horn, locks, sunroof and wipers by cracking the six-digit code on the car’s mobile app, according to Want China Times. (RELATED: Tesla Model S Security System Vulnerable To Outside Hacking)
Hackers were attempting to win $10,000 in prize money as part of a launch event for the SyScan +360 security conference, co-sponsored by Qihoo. The company did not reveal specific details about the hack’s execution.
“While Tesla is not associated with the conference and is not a sponsor of the competition, we support the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities,” the security company said in a statement. “We hope that the security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith.”
Qihoo reported the results to the leading California-based electric auto manufacturer, and offered to assist Tesla in addressing the security vulnerability. In the meantime, the company warned Tesla drivers to “be careful” in the rain to avoid becoming a “drowned rat” in the event their sunroof is hacked.
Tesla has since responded, saying it will investigate and fix any flaws provided security companies like Qihoo report vulnerabilities according to Tesla procedures.
“I don’t think a lot of people realize that the systems that provide Bluetooth connections or navigation maps or your radio, have the ability to control physical aspects of our cars, like locks, speedometer, even braking and turning,” security expert and car hacking researcher Charlie Miller said in a CNET report.
Miller said he wasn’t surprised a Model S had been hacked, but added it was too early to speculate on the type of dangers Tesla owners could face.
“Now we’re trying to figure out how to deal with this in light of the fact that we don’t know how to secure computers.”