Forget jailbreaking your iPhone — jailbreaking your Tesla could be the next big fad. And it could save you thousands of dollars.
A group of researchers claim they found a way to jailbreak Tesla vehicles with a hardware hack, which allowed them to activate paid features like Full Self-Driving (FSD) without paying for them. The researchers were also able to enable the heated rear seats — also a paid feature. The researchers suggested this could enable features in regions where they aren’t available but haven’t tested that out yet.
According to TechCrunch, the researchers used a technique called ‘voltage glitching’ to accomplish the hack.
“If we do it at the right moment, we can trick the CPU into doing something else,” explained Christian Werling, one of three students at Technische Universität Berlin who worked with an independent researcher on the project. “It has a hiccup, skips an instruction and accepts our manipulated code. That’s basically what we do in a nutshell.”
The researchers were able to use the same technique to extra the encryption key used to authenticate the car to Tesla’s network. The researchers say in theory, this could open the door for a series of other attacks, but they have to explore the possibilities of that scenario.
Researchers were able to extract personal information as well, including contacts, recent calendar appointments, call logs, locations the car visited, Wi-Fi passwords and more.
Concerningly, the researchers say that Tesla would need to replace the hardware in order to mitigate the hardware-based attack they found. On the flip side, because it’s a hardware exploit, any attacker would need physical access to the car.