McAfee researchers trick Tesla autopilot with a strip of tape

The hack caused Tesla’s 2016 Model X to speed fifty miles per hour faster than intended

Just a two-inch piece of tape was enough for cybersecurity researchers at McAfee to trick two Tesla vehicles into accelerating fifty miles per hour above the intended speed limit.

The hack took advantage of the cars’ MobilEye camera system, typically used in support of automated driving systems by capturing and transmitting visual road information.

As demonstrated in the video below, McAfee’s team convinced Tesla’s 2016 Model X and Model S that a 35 mile per hour speed limit sign falsely indicated 85 miles per hour, simply by adding a thin strip of tape to the sign’s 3.

New scenarios and changes in physical surroundings can cause machine learning systems to act unpredictably. McAfee’s research is just the latest development in a mountain of evidence discouraging the implementation of automated cars onto live city streets. 

A recent study conducted by UC Berkeley professor Dawn Song employed a method similar to McAfee’s: stickers were used to manipulate an automated car into thinking that a stop sign actually read ‘45 mph’, jumpstarting the car into motion where it should have remained motionless. 

According to MobilEye’s webpage, over 40 million vehicles worldwide are currently equipped with MobileEye technology, though Tesla stopped using its hardware back in 2017.

McAfee’s attempts at hacking newer versions of the Model X and Model S through the tape method were reported to be unsuccessful. 

Steve Povolny, leader of McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team, said in a statement that the study was designed with a preventative purpose. 

“Intelligent systems at some point in the future are going to be doing tasks that are now handled by humans,” Povolny said. “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.

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

Senate report slams agencies for poor cyber security
cyber security

Senate report slams agencies for poor cyber security

3 Aug 2021
Most employees put their workplace at risk by taking cyber security shortcuts
cyber security

Most employees put their workplace at risk by taking cyber security shortcuts

27 Jul 2021
61% of organizations say improving security a top priority for 2021
cyber security

61% of organizations say improving security a top priority for 2021

29 Jun 2021
ProtectedBy.AI’s CodeLock blocks malware at source code level
software as a service (SaaS)

ProtectedBy.AI’s CodeLock blocks malware at source code level

9 Jun 2021

Most Popular

Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox
Microsoft Windows

Windows 11 has problems with Oracle VirtualBox

5 Oct 2021