Calling All Hackers, Tesla Needs You To Improve its Cars

Tesla Model S dash 1 photo
Photo: autoevolution
As cars now tend to transform into computers on wheels, hackers are given an extra back door to cause harm and steal things. Tesla, which currently sells some of the most technologically advanced electric vehicles, is on its way to make sure its clients won’t experience such problems.
According to a report from Wall Street Journal, Tesla was present at this year’s Def Con in Las Vegas, looking to find some hackers willing to find security breaches in the company’s vehicles.

Tesla’s vehicles security chief Kristin Paget said the company is looking to hire 20 to 30 security experts (white hat hackers) to find holes in the software governing the luxury electric vehicles. Hackers that find bugs in the system will also receive a platinum-colored “challenge coin” which grants them a free factory tour.

Seems a bit crazy to let some hackers see how you build your cars, but then let’s not forget that Tesla recently declassified all its patents to anyone wanting to know what’s going on under those smooth body lines of its EVs.

The SyScan 360 conference in Beijing also targeted the hacking of a Tesla Model S last month, with the winner receiving $10,000 for the effort. At the time, the automaker had no implications in the contest. Using a laptop, hackers could do basic stuff, like turning the headlights on, operating the sunroof, horn and unlocking the doors.

However, you shouldn’t be too concerned about that if already owning a Tesla model. The company is constantly monitoring its cars to see if strange things happen to their software. Earlier this year, an owner found that for himself after he fiddled around with the software and Tesla called telling to stop if he still wants to have a valid warranty.

With all the car hacking story appearing to be something quite big in the near future, security experts Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek already came up with a cheap device to detect if someone tries to mess around with your car. The simple circuit board gets connected to the OBD and starts to learn how the car works. If something unusual happens, it will put the car in "limp mode" by disabling several systems which can be hacked and endanger you.
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