BY Thomas Brewster
Think you can hack a Tesla? Now’s your chance. And you could win more than $900,000 in the process.
For the first time ever, Pwn2Own, perhaps the world’s best-known competition for ethical hackers, will have a Tesla Model 3 opened up for participants to break. Prizes range from $35,000 to $250,000. The more difficult the hack, the greater the prize.
The lowest prize will go to an as-yet-unspecified attack on the electric car’s infotainment system. The top $250,000 reward will go to the first person or team who can break any of three critical Tesla internals: the Gateway, the Autopilot or the VCSEC.
The Gateway acts as the central hub for controlling data flowing around the Tesla. Taking control of that system would give a hacker power over many of the car’s functions. Manipulating Tesla Autopilot could lead to all too obvious problems. Imagine if the hacker simply shut Autopilot down without the driver noticing.Today In: Innovation
The VCSEC is the part of a Tesla responsible for a variety of security functions, including the alarm. Again, it’s not hard to guess just what a hacker could do if they commandeered that part of the car.
Another $100,000 is on offer for the first to hack the doors off by breaking the key fob or mobile app unlock tech. Starting the car without owning the legitimate key will also land a lucky hacker $100,000.
PROMOTEDInsights – Teradata BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramHow Pandora Knows What You Want To Hear NextCivic Nation BRANDVOICE | Paid ProgramZero Isn’t SafeDisney Plus Cyber Monday Deal: Annual Subscription is Now $10 Off
The individual who scores the most points in the first round won’t just walk off with bundles of cash. They’ll also get to take the Model 3 home.
Pwn2Own takes place at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver this March.
Hackers love owning Teslas
Over recent years, hackers of different ilks have tried to undo the security of Elon Musk’s automotive beast. A number of successful attacks have led to different kinds of remote control. Perhaps the most famous was first demoed at the DEF CON hacker convention in 2015, when two cybersecurity researchers tore apart a Tesla Model S to turn its power off in mid-drive.
That same year, Forbes was informed by sources that Tesla was going to have a Model S on show at the same conference, letting hackers have a crack at breaking its security. But the car manufacturer denied the claims, and the car never showed up.
Now, though, it seems Tesla is ready to let some of the most meddlesome minds in tech go at its Model 3. Details of the vulnerabilities uncovered during the competition will go straight to Tesla and kept private until fixes are released.
Whatever the outcome, it’ll be positive for Tesla owners and the contest victors alike.