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Want a Free Tesla? Just Become a White-Hat Hacker

Tesla are offering a brand new Tesla to anyone who can hack into their systems. | Image By Christopher Lyzcen |

Tesla are offering a brand new Tesla to anyone who can hack into their systems. | Image By Christopher Lyzcen |

In an effort to keep its vehicles safe on the road, the electric car manufacturer Tesla announced that it would be allowing security researchers and whitehats hack its EV’s security system. In exchange, anyone who successfully breaks into the car’s software will receive a Tesla Model 3.

Members of the consumer technology industry often call this type of prize a “bug bounty”. This approach involves crowd-sourcing a company’s security testing to tens of thousands of professional IT security experts and amateurs.

Most consumer tech companies turn to bug bounty programs to learn about holes in their service, product, or software designs. Not only is it useful, but a bug bounty can also save a company thousands of dollars on testing and salaries.

Free Tesla Model 3

This year, Tesla is the only car manufacturer in Pwn2Own 2019. This is a cybersecurity contest held annually in Vancouver, Canada from March 20th to 22nd. During the event, the carmaker will bring a Tesla Model 3 and pay anyone skilled enough to break into the vehicle’s software security.

Tesla decided to give away a new Model 3 to the successful person on top of cash. The company claimed that a Tesla Model 3 is just a small price to pay in exchange for the safety of their EV customers.

Pwn2Own and Tesla will offer a total of $915,000 USD across seven targets including:

  • $35,000 for hacking the car’s infotainment
  • $60,000 for cracking the WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities of the vehicle
  • $100,000 for hacking the modem/tuner
  • $250,000 will go to the first hacker to exploit the vulnerability in the Model 3’s Autopilot, gateway, or Vehicle Controller Secondary
Targets to hit if you want to win a Tesla Model 3
Targets to hit if you want to win a Tesla Model 3 | Zero Day Initiative

The competition’s first-round winner to hit any target will receive the brand new Tesla Model 3.

Aside from Pwn2Own, Tesla has also relied on other crowdsourced services like the BugCrowd. Just recently, the automaker upped its top payout to $15,000 USD for any vulnerabilities related to automotive and energy products.

Do you believe that bug bounty programs are as effective as hiring paid security experts?

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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