Thursday, March 10, 2016

Man hacks Tesla firmware, finds new model, has car remotely downgraded

But Elon Musk says not on his orders; "Good hacking is a gift."

The image that hacker Jason Hughes found hidden in Tesla's latest Model S firmware.

It seems Tesla is set to bump the battery capacity of its Model S sedan up to a hefty 100kWh some time in the near future. We know this thanks to the work of a white-hat hacker and Tesla P85D owner named Jason Hughes. Hughes—who previously turned the battery pack from a wrecked Tesla into a storage array for his solar panels—was poking around in the latest firmware of his Model S (version 2.13.77) and discovered an image of the new car's badge, the P100D.

However, after letting Tesla (and the world) know what he found, Hughes alleged that Tesla used "some method I was unaware of" to downgrade his P85D to firmware 2.12.45. Musk has been known in the past to take criticism of Tesla quite seriously; he challenged a critical New York Times article with data pulled from the review car and cancelled a customer's order after being berated for being late to the Model X launch.

But it seems that in this case, Musk had nothing to do with the downgrade, replying to Hughes that he was innocent and that "Good hacking is a gift":

All's well that ends well. Hughes had backed up the more recent firmware (which should fix a charging bug he's been experiencing), and he told Musk via Twitter that they're still cool and he was off to enjoy his car.

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