Nissan Leaf’s may show your personal information via Carwings connectivity system

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 21, 2011

A flaw was found on the Nissan Leaf’s on-board infotainment software that may be used to track its location in real time. Computer security expert Casey Halverson found that the Leaf could “leak” its location information to websites accessed through the car’s RSS reader. Halverson documented his discovery on YouTube.

The Leaf electric car has been fitted with Nissan’s Carwings connectivity system, which enables owners to check the condition of their Leaf through the Internet or a smartphone.

Among the information that’s provided are scheduling charge times, remote verification of charge status, as well as numerous other features. Owners could also get an RSS news feed from inside the car.

Halverson said that this last feature pinpoints where the Nissan Leaf is located. Halverston created a custom RSS feed and proved that Carwings sent the GPS coordinates, speed, navigation destination, plus other information to external websites when the RSS feed is requested.

There’s also no way to turn off this feature. Spokeswoman Katherine Zachary said that Nissan knows of the Carwings issue and asserted that it was been “corrected right away.” Apparently, there was no identifying data transmitted via the RSS reader and so it can’t easily be linked to a specific driver or vehicle.

Much has been said about the Nissan LEAF's new LED headlights, from the special blue internal design to how they split and move airflow away from the side mirrors to reduce drag, the way they slant upwards to meld with the design aesthetic and to how they consume just 10% of the electricity used by conventional lights. They clearly announce to the world that the LEAF is a very environmentally friendly car.

These ideals continue with the choice of color from a “blue earth” theme to bright trim colours to go with the stylish interior and a light blue instrument panel.


The vehicle comes with an advanced computer system which -- via a connection to a worldwide database -- is able to provide anything the driver requires from information to support, entertainment and assistance 24 hours a day.

The vehicle's remaining power is displayed on the dashboard alongside the nearest available charging stations for your convenience.

The state-of-the-art features keep coming with an option to use your mobile phone to activate the air-conditioning and modify the recharging function even as the driver is away from the vehicle. This mode can be activated even when the LEAF is powered down. You can also set a time for when you would like the batteries to start recharging, like for example when you’re asleep.

Tooru Abe, the Chief Product Specialist for Nissan said that the IT system is of critical importance to the driver-vehicle relationship. He said that the company wants both the driver and the passengers to feel valued and to be a part of the journey it has taken in the zero-emission community.


The Nissan LEAF is crucial in its intentions to make sure the infrastructure is in place to contribute to its goal. The internal-combustion engine still has a part to play in the movement of people around the globe and this is why Nissan feels the Leaf will appeal to a range of consumers with its eco-friendly approach in its technology.

Like many car manufacturers, they know zero-emission is the target and Nissan is actively ensuring its fleet is making its way responsibly towards this aim and only through innovative technologies such as the ones onboard the Leaf will it be possible. Subsequently Nissan is able to offer a variety of options including CVT, Clean Diesel, HEV, Idle Stop and future work into FCV technologies.

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