Hackers trick Tesla into breaking speed limit by 50mph using two inches of tape
Researchers at cybersecurity firm McAfee have shown that two inches can make all the difference, fooling two types of Tesla car into speeding up by 50mph (80.5kph).
Using a small, almost imperceptible sticker on a speed limit sign, the McAfee scientists were able to trick the cars’ MobilEye EyeQ3 camera system into thinking the sign read ‘85’ and not ‘35,’ confirming that autonomous driving systems and the machine learning algorithms that power them still have a long way to go.
Both the 2016 Model X and Model S both sped up during the testing of the adversarial machine learning attacks carried out by Steve Povolny and Shivangee Trivedi from McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team.
“If we are not very prescient about what the attacks are and very careful about how the systems are designed, you then have a rolling fleet of interconnected computers which are one of the most impactful and enticing attack surfaces out there,” Povolny said.
Tesla acknowledged the research but said it will not be updating the 2016 generation of hardware.
Meanwhile MobilEye insisted that the sign would fool even a human driver while adding that the camera is designed for Tesla’s cruise control function, not its much-touted self-driving capabilities.
“Autonomous vehicle technology will not rely on sensing alone, but will also be supported by various other technologies and data, such as crowdsourced mapping, to ensure the reliability of the information received from the camera sensors and offer more robust redundancies and safety,” the Mobileye spokesperson said in a statement.
Previously, UC Berkeley professor Dawn Song previously tricked a Tesla into thinking a stop sign was actually a 45mph speed limit sign. Hackers have also tricked Teslas into veering into the oncoming lane with strategically placed stickers on the road surface.
Both companies have moved beyond the 2016 versions of the hardware and improved their techniques, but there are still many vehicles on the roads that are susceptible to such attacks.
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