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  1. ITV Report

App disabled after expert finds hackers could have controlled car features

Nissan has disabled an app that accompanies its Leaf electric car models after it was discovered it could be hacked, and used to control features on the car.

The flaw means hackers could run down the battery and access temperature control Credit: PA

A security expert had reported the issue to the Japanese car manufacturer.

It’s said to revolve around a flaw in the software which means hackers could run down the car battery and see data of recent journeys.

Nissan said there was an issue with one of the app’s servers meaning the Leaf’s temperature could also be controlled from an outside source.

The company confirmed the problem also affected its eNV200 electric vans, but denied there was a safety issue.

The NissanConnect EV app - formerly called CarWings - is currently unavailable.

This follows information from an independent IT consultant and a subsequent internal Nissan investigation that found the dedicated server for the app had an issue that enabled the temperature control and other telematics functions to be accessible via a non-secure route.

No other critical driving elements of the Nissan Leaf or eNV200 are affected, and our 200,000-plus LEAF and eNV200 drivers across the world can continue to use their cars safely and with total confidence.

– Nissan statement
Nissan deny the app flaw could have put safety at risk Credit: Reuters

Troy Hunt, the security researcher who flagged up the problem to Nissan, went public by blogging about it after seeing online forum discussions on the subject.

In his blog he said: “The flaw meant that hackers could access information about Leafs without verifying themselves as owners of the car.”

"Instead access was granted when simply providing a car's vehicle identification number, which is engraved into the windscreen of cars and be relatively easy to locate online."

He added that since the outside control couldn’t be done while the car was moving, and it didn’t impact the steering controls, it was unlikely to threaten lives.