David Colombo, a self-described information technology specialist, tweeted Tuesday that the software flaw allows him to unlock doors and windows, start the cars without keys and disable their security systems.
Colombo also claimed he can see if a driver is present in the car, turn on the vehicles’ stereo sound systems and flash their headlights.
The teenager didn’t reveal the exact details of the software vulnerability, but said it wasn’t within Tesla’s software or infrastructure and added that only a small number of Tesla owners globally were affected. His Twitter thread elicited a robust response, with more than 800 retweets.
A message to Colombo on Twitter seeking comment wasn’t immediately answered. A representative for Tesla in China declined to comment, while the carmaker’s global press team didn’t respond to an email seeking comment outside of West Coast business hours.
Yes, I potentially could unlock the doors and start driving the affected Tesla‘s.No I can not intervene with some… https://t.co/MyaAx1jkk6
— David Colombo (@david_colombo_) 1641921178000
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According to one online report, US-based Tesla has a vulnerability disclosure platform where security researchers can register their own vehicles for testing, which Tesla can pre-approve. The company pays up to $15,000 for a qualifying vulnerability.
Colombo later tweeted he has been in touch with Tesla’s security team, and said they were investigating the issue. The team said they will come back to him with any updates, he said.