Security researcher Lennert Wouters has discovered a vulnerability in the Tesla Model X SUV that allows him to open it, start it and walk away with it. Warned in August, the American manufacturer will deploy a fix this week.
Tesla pays special attention to the safety of its electric vehicles. So much so that the Californian manufacturer regularly participates in famous hackathons – Elon Musk even has one organized at his home – to detect the deepest flaws in its system, and thus reward hackers able to penetrate the layers of security.
Security researcher Lennert Wouters won no particular trophy, apart from the recognition of the boss of SpaceX for his latest findings on the Model X SUV. Security researcher from KU Leuven University, located in Leuven, has indeed unearthed a computer weakness that allows it both to hack the key and fool the vehicle’s control module, says the person concerned in Wired.
The hacking takes place in two stages. First, Wouters discovered that he could connect his own computer via Bluetooth to a Model X key. In doing so, the researcher was able to rewrite the firmware and interrogate the embedded security chip that usually generates an unlock code. for the car. This code could then be sent back to his own computer, still in Bluetooth. Duration of the operation: 90 seconds.
Thanks to this maneuver, the pirate is then able to enter the automobile. Once inside, you have to be able to start it. Lennert Wouters then plugged his computer into a port accessible from a small panel located under the screen. No special tools are needed to access the port.
A patch soon to be deployed
The latter is of crucial importance, since it gives the computer the opportunity to send commands to the CAN data bus (Controller Area Network), which allows communication between different vehicle systems without complex wiring. This CAN data bus contains the BCM (Body Control Module), or the control module.
The hacker then just has to ask the BCM to associate himself with his key: this one is certainly valid, but also spoofed. Each Model X key contains a unique encryption certificate that is supposed to prevent the car from associating with an unauthorized key. Problem: Wouters noticed that the BCM did not verify the certificate, allowing the hacker to achieve his ends.
Warned in August of this vulnerability, Tesla will deploy a security patch this week to correct the situation.