Server Error 500 sees some Tesla drivers locked out of their MuskMobiles – The Register

Some Tesla drivers who fancied going for a spin on Saturday were unable to do so after an update to the cars’ companion app produced server errors.

Teslas don’t use conventional keys. Instead they require the presence of a fob, key card, or authenticated mobile phone app that links to the electric vehicles over Bluetooth. This is apparently easier and/or more convenient than a key, or something. Heck, everything’s better with Bluetooth, right?

Drivers that use the app to start their cars reported it couldn’t do the job and instead produced an error message.

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk personally replied to the above tweet, with the following information:

Measures like, maybe, letting people open their cars with keys? Just a suggestion.

Tesla appears not to have made any other public statement about the incident. The company put its support forums behind a regwall earlier in 2021 and owning a MuskMobile is a requirement for entry. Your correspondent is therefore unable to explore any official missives. Tesla’s Twitter account is silent on the matter and the electric car biz doesn’t bother with Facebook. The exact nature of the outage is therefore hard to divine.

Which leaves us trying to guess at what a combination of Server Error 500 and “increased network verbosity” might mean.

One clue us that The Tesla app was updated on November 18, to version 4.3.0 on iOS and 4.2.3-742 on Android.

Outage-tracking site recorded outages on Saturday – a couple of days after the app updates dropped – and The Register can find no reports of bricked MuskMobiles immediately following the app upgrade. It looks like the app is off the hook as the source of network verbosity.

Error 500, defined by the World Wide Web Consortium as an Internal Server Error, produces the error message “The server encountered an unexpected condition which prevented it from fulfilling the request.”

Might Musk’s Tweet therefore suggest that something related to Tesla’s authentication of app users was tweaked to be more verbose and effectively DDOSed Tesla’s own infrastructure? We can only speculate.

Whatever the cause, it was swiftly fixed. Downdetector’s report indicates outages ended after around four hours, leaving drivers back behind their electrified wheels and the rest of us wondering if CEOs responding to tweets is the new best practice for tech support. ®

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