LAS VEGAS (Reuters) -- Tesla Motors Inc. said today it has sent a software patch to address security flaws in the Tesla Model S sedan that could allow hackers to take control of the vehicle.
The Financial Times reported on Thursday that cybersecurity researchers said they had taken command of a Model S and turned it off at low speed, one of six significant flaws they found that could allow hackers to maneuver the vehicle.
Tesla confirmed elements of the story and said it already has issued a software patch to owners.
Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm Lookout, and Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at Cloudflare, said they decided to hack a Tesla car because the company has a reputation for understanding software that is better than that of most automakers, the FT said.
"We shut the car down when it was driving initially at a low speed of five miles per hour," Rogers told the paper. "All the screens go black, the music turns off and the handbrake comes on, lurching it to a stop."
They were able to gain partial control of the Tesla only after having access to the car and plugging a laptop into its computer, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Tesla said it had developed and deployed an over-the-air update to Model S owners to address the "vulnerabilities."
In a statement, Tesla said the hackers did not turn off the car remotely, but from inside the vehicle.
"Our security team works closely with the security research community to ensure that we continue to protect our systems against vulnerabilities by constantly stress-testing, validating, and updating our safeguards," the automaker said.
The hack will be detailed at cybersecurity conference Def Con in Las Vegas on Friday, the FT said.
The hack on Tesla follows a similar attack on Fiat Chrysler's Jeep Cherokee last month that prompted the company to recall 1.4 million vehicles in the United States.
In a related matter, Chris Evans, head of security for Google Inc.’s Chrome browser, said Wednesday on Twitter that he’ll soon be joining Tesla to lead security efforts.