Shortly after I posted a story that Tesla’s certified pre-owned webpage had gone live on Saturday, the Tesla Motors website and Twitter were hacked by an unknown assailant, as was Elon Musk’s personal Twitter. For several hours this past Saturday, the Tesla website redirected to a spoof website while the official Twitter feeds spit out all sorts of infantile messages before the automaker regained control of its sites and social media.
Tesla released an official statement on the hack, saying the case was already “under investigation” and laying the blame for the hack squarely at AT&T’s customer service. According to Tesla’s official version of events:
Posing as a Tesla employee, somebody called AT&T customer support and had them forward calls to an illegitimate phone number. The impostor then contacted the domain registrar company that hosts teslamotors.com, Network Solutions. Using the forwarded number, the imposter added a bogus email address to the Tesla domain admin account. The impostor then reset the password of the domain admin account, routed most of the website traffic to a spoof website and temporarily gained access to Tesla’s and Elon’s Twitter accounts.
If this series of events is true, it means that Tesla wasn’t really “hacked” so much as somebody at AT&T didn’t do a thorough-enough job of vetting the person claiming to be a Tesla employee. Nonetheless, some people are bound to question whether this means Tesla vehicles themselves are vulnerable to hacking (and like all cars these days, they are), and some drivers reported that they were unable to use their mobile phone apps while the automaker attempted to sort things out. To its credit, Tesla has been active in recruiting hackers and security experts to make the Model S safe from attack, but one has to wonder what might happen if Tesla was well and truly hacked?
Just don’t tell that to Wall Street, as TSLA stocks are up 7% this morning ahead of an official announcement about Tesla’s home battery service. Perhaps the fact that despite being hacked, nothing all that bad actually happened has bolstered the bulls. After all, it’s happened to other automakers before too.
Is the Tesla hack much ado about nothing, or cause for concern?