July 14, 2014
$10,000 Prize To Hack Into A Tesla
With all the new technology coming out almost daily in the electronic world, information is distributed over the airwaves and Internet continually. Hackers worldwide test their skills in infiltrating businesses, computers, websites and other devices that use this technology to gain information on the machines, as well as their users.
You hear continually this site was hacked, that organization was hacked, so-and-so lost their identity and so on. Now technology is becoming a part of our vehicles with autonomous drive, computerized this, and electronic that, which is sadly a part of our daily commute.
So, I guess it was just a matter of time before hackers would try to gain access to our vehicle’s electronics.
According to Fox News, a Beijing security conference is offering $10,000 in prize money to anyone who can hack into a Tesla electric car. The Symposium on Security for Asia Network, or SyScan, announced the hacking competition will take place July 16-17, 2014 in the Chinese capital. The rules for the participants in the event will be announced soon, according to the symposium website.
The goal of the competition is to examine the safety of the Tesla. There will be a Tesla, as well as computers, onsite so hackers can probe into the electronics and possibly find ways to operate the vehicle by a PC or control the in-dash browser.
The Tesla has a software program that operates from a 17-inch multimedia touch screen that controls the vehicle. It is constantly connected to the Internet through the user’s smartphone. This enables the owner to track the vehicle, lock and unlock the doors and check the charge of the battery.
It is a convenience, but also a potential hacking risk. The user’s personal information could be accessed, as well as the control of the car could be manipulated.
John Pescatore, director of emerging security trends at The SANS Institute in Besthesda, Maryland, says that Tesla has not really been a target of hackers until now.
“They have a good security reputation mainly because nobody has pounded on them yet,” he told FoxNews.com. However, with the new technology being put into automobiles, security is a concern.
“These new cars, especially hybrids, have a lot more software in them that has to be updated – these paths haven’t really been probed yet by hackers. I assume for any electric car there’s a huge amount of software to optimize and control things,” he adds.
Neither SyScan nor Tesla has responded for comment. However, Tesla has confirmed they are not officially involved in the competition. Tesla doesn’t take security lightly though; they hired former Apple security tech Kristin Paget, who was known as the “Hacker Princess.”
Many of us have software on our computers to prevent viruses from infecting them. Companies have similar software in place to prevent hackers from gaining access to their networks. It now looks like newer vehicles will need some protection as well, especially if someone succeeds in hacking into the Tesla S model.