A total of £700,000 ($900,000) is up for grabs for one very skilled hacker who can delve into the computer systems of a Tesla Model 3. Each of the systems carries its own reward for the successful hacker: £700k is the overall total Musk has offered.
It is all part of Pwn2Own’s hacking competition, now in its 13th year. In previous competitions, conventional tech like computers, phones, browsers and so on, have been the target. Now in this new age of autonomous electric cars, the Tesla makes for a very topical target in 2019.
The prizes for various systems are as follows: $30,000 for infotainment access and $50,000 for a targeted denial of service (locking out owner) attack. Bluetooth and wifi systems access will win a hacker a $60,000 prize. Hacking of the app or key fob or indeed the communications system in the car’s electronics will win a hacker $100,000.
The top $250,000 is up for grabs for those who can get into the car’s autonomous systems. These challenges, among others, add up to a near million-dollar prize.
As electronic systems and computers in cars get ever more sophisticated and take over more and more of the way a car works, car hacking becomes more and more of a risk.
So far, that’s one controversy that Tesla has thus far dodged – its cars seem to be secure as can be. In the UK, modern keyless entry systems and other such computer trickery has put cars at risk from thieves.
Manufacturers are increasingly focused on digitally defending against unauthorised access (stealing) as well as, even more terrifyingly, unauthorised takeover when on the road. Dangling the carrot and tempting the world’s brightest to put their best hacking skills forward ought to provide an intriguing insight indeed for Musk and the Tesla engineers…