Hacker, 19, Claims He Was Able to Remotely Access 25 Tesla Vehicles Worldwide Due to Software Flaw In a series on Twitter on Tuesday, David Colombo claimed that he had been able to remotely access the vehicles and disable Sentry Mode-a feature that allows Tesla owners to monitor suspicious activities-unlock doors and windows, and start the cars without keys.

By The Epoch Times

This story originally appeared on The Epoch Times

A 19-year-old security researcher in Germany claims he was able to remotely hack into more than 25 Tesla vehicles in 13 countries after discovering a software flaw in the company's systems.

In a series on Twitter on Tuesday, David Colombo claimed that he had been able to remotely access the vehicles and disable Sentry Mode—a feature that allows Tesla owners to monitor suspicious activities—unlock doors and windows, and start the cars without keys.

Colombo also claimed that he could query the driver's exact location and see if they were present in the car, adding that the list of things he could do was "pretty long."

The teenager went on to state that the vulnerability was not due to Tesla"s infrastructure but that it was "the owners [sic] faults" and that he would "need to report this to the owners" but did not reveal the exact details of the software vulnerability.

While Colombo said he was not able to remotely control steering or acceleration and braking in the vehicles, he joked that he could "remotely rick roll the affected owners by playing Rick Astley on Youtube in their Tesla's."

"Yes, I potentially could unlock the doors and start driving the affected Tesla"s. 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," Colombo wrote on Twitter.

"I think it"s pretty dangerous if someone is able to remotely blast music on full volume or open the windows/doors while you are on the highway. Even flashing the lights non-stop can potentially have some (dangerous) impact on other drivers," Colombo said.

"That"s why I would like to get this all fixed before I release any specific details regarding what exactly this all is about," he said, adding that he had contacted MITRE, the American not-for-profit organization that provides engineering and technical guidance for the federal government.

The teenager said that he was also in contact with the affected Tesla vehicle owners. He did not provide photographic or video evidence to support his claims.

In an updated Twitter post, columbo said that he had been in contact with Tesla"s Security Team who had confirmed they were investigating the incident and would update him. The MITRE Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures Assignment Team had also "reserved a CVE for it," he said.

Colombo and Tesla have not responded to a request for comment.

Tesla vehicles have encountered a number of safety issues including with their autonomous driving features.

In August last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) opened a formal probe into Tesla's Autopilot and full self-driving (FSD) systems following nearly a dozen crashes with parked emergency vehicles that left one person dead and injured 17 others. On Aug. 31, that investigation was expanded to cover a 12th incident (pdf).

In October, Tesla withdrew the latest version of its FSD beta software just one day after it was released after the company's internal quality assurance found problems with some left turns at traffic lights.

Tesla has a vulnerability disclosure platform where security researchers can report legitimate vulnerabilities in Tesla vehicles and are rewarded with up to $15,000 for a qualifying vulnerability.

By Katabella Roberts

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.

Wavy Line

The Epoch Times, founded in 2000, is headquartered in Manhattan, New York, with a mission to provide independent and accurate information free of political bias or corporate influence. The organization was established in response to censorship within China and a lack of global awareness regarding the Chinese regime's repression of the spiritual practice Falun Gong.

The Epoch Times is a widely read newspaper that is distributed in 33 countries and is available in 21 languages. The publication has been critical in providing balanced and detailed reporting on major global events such as the 2003 SARS pandemic and the 2008 financial crisis. Notably, the organization has played a key role in exposing corruption inside China.

Aside from its human rights coverage, The Epoch Times has made significant contributions in a variety of fields. It has received praise for its in-depth analysis and expert perspectives on business, the economy and U.S. politics. The newspaper has also received praise for its broad coverage of these topics.

A series of editorials titled "Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party" appeared in The Epoch Times in 2004. It asserts that freedom and prosperity in China can only be achieved by eliminating the Communist Party, which violated China's cultural and spiritual values. In addition, the organization led the Tuidang movement, which resulted in over 400 million Chinese citizens quitting the Communist Party. In spite of this, 90% of websites referring to the "Nine Commentaries" were blocked by the Chinese regime.

The Epoch Times has been at the forefront of investigating high-level corruption cases within the Chinese regime, with its reporters taking significant risks to uncover these stories. The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism.

The organization has received several awards for its investigative journalism. For more, visit www.theepochtimes.com.

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