Posted on January 11, 2020 at 5:18 PM
In a hacking competition billed for March this year, Tesla will be awarding $1 million to any hacker that could crack its Model 3 vehicle. The Car manufacturer has been investing a lot in cybersecurity in recent times. Now, it wants to go back to the pwn3Own scheme were it challenges hackers to dare to hack its cars and receive a handsome reward for it.
Last year, Tesla attended the Pwn2Own hacking competition run by the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI). The car company offered the car and some cash rewards to anyone that could exploit and discover any vulnerability in their cars’ system. A hacking pair used a JIT bug at the infotainment system on the Tesla Model 3 to hack and take hold of the system. For their successful hacking attempt, Tesla gave them a brand new Tesla Model 3 car.
Tesla encouraging white-hat hacking to improve security
Tesla has always been at the forefront of testing and improving its systems. The sole purpose of this type of hacking exercise, according to the company, is to help improve the entire system mechanisms on cars.
The exercise is important because cars are beginning to evolve into computers on wheels. The more it evolves with computer features, the more it will be exposed to hacking. That’s the reason why Tesla has returned to the Pwn2Own this year with an even bigger offer for the successful hacker.
Today, Zero Day Initiative, the event’s organizer, said in a press statement that the initiative last year drew some level of attention as it collaborated with Tesla to add the Model 3 brand of cars as a target for the exercise. The Initiative pointed out that it awarded the brand new car to two very talented researchers for their efforts in finding a vulnerability and cracking the system.
According to ZDI, the hacking competition included Tesla because the car manufacturer was the pioneer in over-the-air and connected car updates more than ten years ago. According to ZDI, since then, Tesla has been dominating the space. So, including the car manufacturer in this hacking competition is the right way to go.
Harder challenge set for this year
The challenge this year is for the talented hacker to drive off with a brand-new Model 3 Tesla car. This is certainly a more difficult challenge than last year. To make the reward seem at par with the challenge, the company is offering up to $1 million in cash and prizes, which also includes the new Tesla car.
Tesla said it wanted to raise the difficulty level for this year’s challenge to test and gauge the security levels the car has attained. The company said the new Tesla vehicles had been equipped with multiple layers of security. This time, the award system has been grouped under three different levels.
However, the highest levels of the award would see the successful hacker leave the competition with the brand new Tesla car as well as $700,000 in cash price. There are other compensation levels for others who would come very close to the various levels of the competition. The competition is billed for March this year. Tesla and the organizers of the competition have asked those interested in making inquiries about the rules guiding the competition.
Vmare also returns as a sponsor while Microsoft will be present as a partner in the competition.
For the past five years, Tesla has been organizing a bug bounty competition. The car manufacturer has given out rewards in hundreds of thousands of dollars to hackers that succeeded in exposing vulnerabilities in the vehicle’s systems.
In 2018, Tesla increased the maximum payout in the competition to $15,000. It also assured owners who tried to hack their vehicles that the company would not void its warranty on their vehicle.
According to Tesla, the attempt by Tesla car owners to hack their vehicles is security research based on the show of good faith. It encourages people to find fault genuinely from their cars’ systems. Tesla is also working and collaborating with different security researchers to keep their cars secure from blackhat hacking attempts.