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Security conference

Tesla only partially hacked

Last week’s Syscan-360 Security Conference in Beijing (China) posed a challenge: a prize of US$ 10 000 was announced for anyone who managed to hack a Tesla. The prize money went unclaimed - none of the participants managed to meet all specifications set by the organizers.

The CAN network of the Tesla model S was accessed during the hack (Photo: Tesla)

ACCORDING TO THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 10 600 yuan were awarded to a white hat hackers team from Zhejiang University, which managed to exploit a “flow design flaw” of the Tesla model S to access the car’s CAN network. They could “unlock the vehicle, sound the horn, and flash the lights, and open the sunroof.” All this was achieved while the car was in motion, but no team managed to hack the engine during the set timeframe.

The organizers said that they have reported the security flaws to the car company. Tesla announced in June that it will make all its patents available to the public, because they believe “technology leadership is not defined by patents, which history has repeatedly shown to be small protection indeed against a determined competitor, but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world’s most talented engineers.”
Be that as it may, this could potentially make their cars vulnerable to hackers. On the other hand, hackers have already managed to hack non-electric cars without the help of published patents.