Tesla Model S Ethernet Network Explored, Possible Jailbreak in the Future?

April 4th, 2014

Tesla vs Corvette StingrayWhile we’re testing the performance capabilities of the Tesla Model S by running it down the 1/4 mile in heads up races such as Tesla vs Corvette Stingray and Tesla vs Viper, others are digging deep into how the Tesla Model S functions internally.

Being the technical marvel that the Model S is with it’s 17″ multi-touch display, all digital dashboard, all electric drivetrain, remote control Apps and more,  along with the fact that the car was designed from the ground up with no predecessor, it’s no surprise that internally it’s using the latest technologies to run these systems.

Some tech savvy Model S owners have located a 4 pin connector (HSD 4 pole M12) on the left side of the Tesla Model S dashboard that turns out to be a disguised ethernet networking port.  After taking apart one end of an ethernet patch cable and trying different pin combinations to connect with the Tesla’s port, a networking connection was established between the Model S and a laptop computer.  This connection allowed for port scanning and data sniffing to explore  how the Tesla Model S systems communicate with each other and what services are running and used.

tesla-model-s-ethernet-jailbreak-possible-001The car’s internal 100 Mbps, full duplex ethernet network consists of 3 devices with assiged IP addresses in the subnet, the center console, dashboard/nav screen and one more unknown device.  Some ports and services that were open on the devices were:

  • 22 (SSH)
  • 23 (telnet)
  • 53 (open domain)
  • 80 (HTTP)
  • 111 (rpcbind)
  • 2049 (NFS)
  • 6000 (X11)

Port 80 one one device was serving up a web page with the image or media of the current song being played.  The operating system is modified version of Ubuntu using an ext3 filesystem.

Using X11 it also appears that an owner was able to somewhat run Firefox on both screens as per the pictures.

tesla-model-s-ethernet-jailbreak-possible-003All of this technology certain brings up the question as to when and if Telsa’s internal systems will be hacked and jailbroken to allow 3rd party applications to run on the large 17″ touchscreen.  Hacking your iPhone is one thing, hacking your car is quite another.

We should also note that apparently Tesla engineers detected this hacking or exploring and sent a nastygram to the cars owner, “Tesla USA engineers have seen a tentative of hacking on my car.”, “can be related to industrial espionage and advised me to stop investigation, to not void the warranty”.

Does Tesla have an network intrusion detection system installed on the cars?  Do they have the right to not allow you to tinker with your own car?

This is certainly going to be interesting as more Tesla’s hit the road and more people attempt to get into it’s systems.  So far just about every consumer device that’s been desired to be hacked into, has.

Reference: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com