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Researchers Extract Personal and Encrypted Data from Junked Tesla Cars

According to the report, data stored on Tesla models is not automatically erased when the car is hauled away from an accident site or sold at auction

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"We are committed to finding and improving upon the right balance between technical vehicle needs and the privacy of customers," the Tesla spokesperson said. Pixabay

 In a shocking revelation, security researchers have extracted personal and unencrypted data — videos, phonebooks, calendar items — of Tesla users from crashed models sold at junkyards and auctions.

According to a CNBC report, a security researcher who goes by the name GreenTheOnly extracted data from the computers in salvaged Tesla Model S, Model X and two Model 3 vehicles.

“The computers on Tesla vehicles keep everything that drivers have voluntarily stored on their cars, plus tons of other information generated by the vehicles, including video, location and navigational data showing exactly what happened leading up to a crash,” the report claimed on Friday, citing researchers.

A Tesla spokesperson told CNBC the company offers options that customers can use to protect personal data stored on their car. “It includes a factory reset option for deleting personal data and restoring customised settings to factory defaults, and a Valet Mode for hiding personal data (among other functions) when giving their keys to a valet,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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According to the report, data stored on Tesla models is not automatically erased when the car is hauled away from an accident site or sold at auction. Pixabay

“We are committed to finding and improving upon the right balance between technical vehicle needs and the privacy of customers,” the Tesla spokesperson said.

According to the report, data stored on Tesla models is not automatically erased when the car is hauled away from an accident site or sold at auction.

GreenTheOnly and his fellow white-hat hacker “Theo” bought a wrecked Model 3 to evaluate the data that remains in the car’s computers after a crash. They extracted records that showed the car’s computers had stored data from at least 17 different devices.

“Mobile phones or tablets had paired to the car around 170 times. The Model 3 held 11 phonebooks’ worth of contact information from drivers or passengers who had paired their devices, and calendar entries with descriptions of planned appointments, and e-mail addresses of those invited,” the report said.

Tesla recently had to give away one of their Model 3 cars and $35,000 prize money to a group of hackers after they cracked its system at a hacking event.

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Tesla recently had to give away one of their Model 3 cars and $35,000 prize money to a group of hackers after they cracked its system at a hacking event. PIxabay

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Amat Cama and Richard Zhu of team Fluoroacetate exposed vulnerability in the vehicle system during the Pwn2Own 2019 hacking competition, organised by Trend Micro’s “Zero Day Initiative (ZDI)”, in Vancouver, Canada, this week.

As part of Tesla’s bug bounty programme, the company has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in rewards to hackers who exposed vulnerabilities in its systems.

The electric car maker was fairly quick to fix vulnerabilities exposed by white hat hackers. (IANS)

Next Story

Tesla Cars Will Soon be Talking to Pedestrians, Hints Elon Musk

The ‘Camp Mode' will allow customers who want to use vehicles for camping to maintain airflow, temperature, interior lighting, as well as play music and power devices

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the model
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model in Hawthorne, California. VOA

Tesla Cars will soon be talking to pedestrians, asking them to hop in or leave the way on congested roads, CEO Elon Musk has hinted.

Sharing a video via Twitter where a Tesla car can be seen talking to pedestrians, Musk said the feature may make its way to the electric cars soon.

“Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real,” said Musk, showing a brief video clip of a Model 3 driving past people, saying: “Well, don’t just stand there. Hop in!”

It is unclear if the feature will use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interact with pedestrians or if it’s purely an audio player, TechRadar reported on Sunday.

It is possible that Tesla owners driving for ride-sharing services like Uber and Ola could use the feature to gain more customers.

Technology Entrepreneur speaking
Elon Musk, a technology entrepreneur. Pixabay

Musk recently confirmed that the popular Disney+ service will soon be available in ‘Tesla Theater’ in a future firmware update.

‘Tesla Theater’ was included in the company’s Version 10 Update that was released in mid-September last year.

Also Read: With Pension for Acid Attack Survivors, ‘Chhapaak’ Serves ‘Purpose’: Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar

Tesla had also started rolling out holiday updates, including a “full self-driving sneak preview”, Musk teased last week.

The holiday update included long-awaited features like reading text messages aloud via Tesla’s built-in voice commands and a ‘Camp Mode’.

The ‘Camp Mode’ will allow customers who want to use vehicles for camping to maintain airflow, temperature, interior lighting, as well as play music and power devices. (IANS)