We all remember the times of yesteryear when we jailbroke (or “rooted” in the case of us Android users) to get an improved feature-set on our smartphones, feature not yet implemented by the manufacturers but those the community had developed. Now someone has jailbroken the Tesla to get access to all the in-car feature upgrades that usually cost big dollars.

A group of researchers at Technische Universität Berlin have found a way to hack the infotainment system of the Tesla infotainment system and are going to be presenting it at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas next week.

The researchers have found a way to access in-car upgrades such as rear heated seats and even possibly self-driving and navigation systems in regions where they aren’t available just yet. The jailbreak attack does require physical access to the car and uses a technique called voltage glitching thereby tricking the CPU into doing “something else.”

The CPU then “has a hiccup, skips an instruction and accepts our manipulated code” one of the three researchers part of the team said.

“We are not the evil outsider, but we’re actually the insider, we own the car,” Werling told TechCrunch in an interview ahead of the conference. “And we don’t want to pay these $300 for the rear heated seats.”

Using this technique the researchers were able to get access to the authentication key of the car — used to authenticate the car on the Tesla network. This may offer even more opportunities for users to gain access to more car features than before but the researchers are yet to explore this.

The jailbreak also gave the researchers access to the owner’s personal information, where they’d been, Wi-Fi passwords and more which of course could a be huge security nightmare. For Tesla to mitigate the attack it is apparently going to be difficult given that it’s a hardware attack and not software. All the hardware would need to be replaced.

Jailbreaking the Tesla brings back the old argument about jailbreaking a device you own yourself. Are you allowed to do this legally? If you own it why not? Should this void warranty even if something breaks unrelated to the jailbroken section?

I know where I stand on it — if a car company installs the hardware on a car, I want to use it. I’m happy to pay for it but I don’t want to “rent” it. Microtransactions have become standard in many games these days but we all still hate them. Hopefully that does not become commonplace in cars as well. The availability of hacking and jailbreaking of cars may prevent that from happening.