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Embarrassing: 19-year-old from Germany easily hacks 25 Tesla e-cars

Updated: 27.01.2022 09:22

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  • Author Christian Einfeldt

An only 19-year-old IT expert hacks 25 Tesla e-cars. The fact that nothing bad happens is due to his good intention – not Tesla security.

Dinkelsbuhl – Electromobility could soon finally begin its social triumphant march – and all over Europe. A survey by E.ON and Emnid, quoted by, reveals that around 70 percent of participants want to use electric cars in the future. The fact that trust in at least a single brand, if not the entire industry, can be quickly shaken is now demonstrated by an incident that quickly made waves: a 19-year-old manages to hack 25 Teslas in thirteen countries in a very short period of time. The fact that nothing bad happened is only thanks to the young hacker himself: He had really good intentions for his coup.

car manufacturer: Tesla, Inc.
Foundation: 1. July 2003, San Carlos, California, United States
CEO: Elon Musk (Oct. 2008-)
Headquarters: Austin, Texas, United States

19-year-old hacks 25 Teslas over the Internet

Electric cars offer many advantages in everyday road traffic. VW has recognized this and now also plans mega investments in Lower Saxony. More and more manufacturers are reacting to current developments in the industry: Kawasaki, for example, plans to produce only e-motorcycles from 2035 onwards*. Numerous car manufacturers want to join the decision.

However, the vulnerabilities that electric cars reveal cannot be ignored. Recently, almost dramatic reports circulated: a family almost froze to death in their e-car because the brand-new Tesla didn’t heat up. The fact that the narrative about fire danger is also frequently confirmed is by now sufficiently well known. Curiously, it has even happened before that the driver of a burned e-car 12.000 euros to General Motors*. A 19-year-old’s hacker attack on Tesla electric cars is now even calling the safety of electric cars into question. How did it get so far that 25 Teslas in thirteen countries could be hacked easily?

Electric cars particularly vulnerable? Why Tesla’s security system could be a target for hackers

The criticism that the e-car industry has to deal with is not exactly conducive to social establishment. Far and wide there would be no charging possibilities for e-cars*. In addition, increased electricity prices and tariff chaos could make e-car acquisition a cost trap. The latest headline: A 19-year-old self-proclaimed IT expert is said by efahrer to 25 Teslas hacked. Everything happened within a very short period of time- And even though the electric cars affected were in thirteen different country locations.

Inevitably, the incident raises the question of how to ensure the safety of electric cars in the first place. Unlocking and operating e-cars often no longer requires a key. A smartphone and the right app are all you need. A found food for hackers – which the young man in Bavaria knew how to exploit.

Hacker has access to windows, doors and even motor of Tesla models

The hacker Colombo managed to disable the security systems, he was able to open windows and doors and even start the engine. Because he also had insight into sensitive data, he could know in each case whether the owner was sitting in the car or not. With malicious motivation, the story could have had a bad outcome: Without a problem, Colombo could have started the engine or just suddenly turned it off, immediately turned up the music or opened a window while driving.

Nothing bad happens in hacker attack on Tesla cars because hacker means well

However, the 19-year-old Bavarian did not exploit his technical expertise, which helped him crack 25 Teslas, for criminal and dangerous schemes. He did not mean any harm. But like a Finnish YouTuber who blew up his Tesla because it was too expensive to repair, the IT professional wanted to set an example. He wanted to expose and point out security vulnerabilities. Ühe subsequently informed the U.S. National Cybersecurity Agency and the Tesla owners affected. It didn’t take long for Tesla’s security team to become aware of the incident as well. One wants to examine the safety gaps now.

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