For a brief period of time on Saturday afternoon, the website and Twitter feed of Tesla Motors, along with Elon Musk’s personal Twitter handle, fell victim to an unknown group of hackers.
The intrusion took place around 5 p.m. Eastern, according to the Verge, and was signaled by a strange tweet which appeared on Tesla’s official account, suggesting that the company was no longer in control of the feed. It was followed by a number of tweets which amounted to shoutouts to seemingly random accounts. The hackers also posted a phone number, claiming that those who called it would receive a free car from Tesla. The Tesla account name was altered by the hackers, who changed it to #RIPPRGANG.
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Tesla’s website was also hacked, and the main page was altered to display a crudely formulated collage of images. Both the tweets and the image suggested that the hack was an unsophisticated prank, and the phone number that was posted led to a computer repair shop in Illinois, according to TechCrunch.
Within roughly an hour, Tesla was able to regain control of its Twitter account, while the website remained offline for a slightly longer period of time. Moments later, the same hackers were able to infiltrate Elon Musk’s Twitter account, posting several similar shoutouts and another call for a free Tesla. The company was able to quickly regain control of that account as well, and it was restored to normal by 7:10 p.m. Eastern.
According to Forbes, the Tesla hack represented a complicated case of “social engineering.” In a statement, a Tesla spokesperson detailed the process that was used to gain control of the various accounts.
“This case is under investigation, here’s what we know: 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.”
Tesla’s issues come just days after reports of another high profile cyberattack which targeted the White House. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the hackers were able to breach secure networks and read President Obama’s unclassified emails.
The spokesperson also noted that neither Tesla’s corporate network, nor its cars or customer database were affected by the hackers’ efforts.
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images]