2 min read

Huge prizes up for grabs for anyone who can hack a Tesla

Graham CLULEY

January 15, 2019

Ad One product to protect all your devices, without slowing them down.
Free 90-day trial
Huge prizes up for grabs for anyone who can hack a Tesla

If you’re going to the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver this March you’ll have the chance to participate in the Pwn2Own ethical hacking contest. As usual hackers will be working hard to crack the security of browsers and operating systems from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Mozilla, Oracle and VMware.

But this things are a little different. Because this year, for the first time ever, a popular car will be amongst the products hackers will be trying to exploit.

A sacrificial Tesla Model 3 will be on-site, inviting hackers to win big in Pwn2Own’s new automotive category.

The top Tesla-hacking prize up for grabs is $250,000 for anyone who finds a way to run unauthorised code on three of the high-tech car’s critical components: the gateway, the autopilot, or the VCSEC.

As Thomas Brewster at Forbes explains, the gateway is a key piece of hardware in the Tesla through which data communications flow.

The VCSEC, meanwhile, controls security features such as the alarm, and access to the charge port and trunk.

And autopilot? Well, you know what the Tesla’s autopilot is. And just how important it is that that particular famous part of the vehicle’s infrastructure is not vulnerable to compromise.

If that’s too tricky, then there is still a handsome $100,000 waiting for anyone who can subvert Tesla’s key fob (or phone used as a key) to run unauthorised code, unlock the vehicle, or start its engine.

Smaller prizes are on offer for researchers who discover a way to run code on the Tesla’s modem, tuner, WiFi, Bluetooth, or infotainment systems.

According to the Pwn2Own competition organisers, participants eager to win the “Modem or Tuner”, “Wi-Fi or Bluetooth”, and “Gateway, Autopilot, or VCSEC” prizes must achieve code execution “by communicating with a rogue base station or other malicious entity.”

Meanwhile, attacks on the infotainment system need to be launched from the on-site Tesla, and must achieve code execution by browsing to malicious content.

Oh, and did I mention the first successful researcher will have the opportunity to drive a brand new Tesla Model 3 away at the end of the competition?

Truth be told, you’ll most likely already have access to a Tesla to experiment on if you’re going to be in with any chance of successfully hacking the one at Pwn2Own.

The good news is that if you are thinking of hacking your Tesla, as of last year you no longer have to worry about voiding your warranty if you accidentally brick your vehicle. In September 2018, the company confirmed it was supporting “safe harbor” which legitimises good-faith security research, and allows owners to hack their own cars provided they remain within its bug bounty rules.

Other companies have in the past attempted to censor the publication of security research using legal threats.

Fuller details of the Pwn2Own competition, and add-on prizes for achieving persistence after a reboot, can be found in the Pwn2Own blog post.

tags


Author



Right now

Top posts

August Spam Debrief: Bitdefender Labs Warns of Fraud Campaigns Exploiting the Russia-Ukraine War

August Spam Debrief: Bitdefender Labs Warns of Fraud Campaigns Exploiting the Russia-Ukraine War

August 31, 2022

4 min read
Snake Keylogger Returns in Malspam Campaign Disguised as Business Portfolio from IT Vendor

Snake Keylogger Returns in Malspam Campaign Disguised as Business Portfolio from IT Vendor

August 30, 2022

2 min read
What is medical identity theft and how to protect against it

What is medical identity theft and how to protect against it

July 27, 2022

2 min read
Curious about Omegle? Here’s how the roulette-style chat platform can threaten your online privacy and security

Curious about Omegle? Here’s how the roulette-style chat platform can threaten your online privacy and security

July 07, 2022

5 min read
Identifying and Dealing with Online Bullying Is Not Impossible - School Presentation Inside

Identifying and Dealing with Online Bullying Is Not Impossible - School Presentation Inside

June 28, 2022

2 min read
Let’s Celebrate World Social Media Day by Improving Your Privacy and Security Online

Let’s Celebrate World Social Media Day by Improving Your Privacy and Security Online

June 28, 2022

3 min read

FOLLOW US ON

SOCIAL MEDIA


You might also like

Prison for ex-eBay staff who aggressively cyberstalked company's critics with Craigslist sex party ads and funeral wreaths Prison for ex-eBay staff who aggressively cyberstalked company's critics with Craigslist sex party ads and funeral wreaths
Graham CLULEY

September 30, 2022

2 min read
Honolulu Man Sabotaged Former Employer’s Network and Business Using Still-Active Credentials Honolulu Man Sabotaged Former Employer’s Network and Business Using Still-Active Credentials
Silviu STAHIE

September 30, 2022

1 min read
North Korean Gang Uses Compromised Open Source Software to Distribute Malware, Researchers Find North Korean Gang Uses Compromised Open Source Software to Distribute Malware, Researchers Find
Silviu STAHIE

September 30, 2022

1 min read