Hackers Won a Tesla After Successfully Breaking a Tesla

Kind of the opposite of "you break it, you buy it"

Tesla Model 3
A Tesla Model 3 on display.
Vachira Vachira/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tesla has become, for many drivers, the face of electric vehicles in the United States. This comes with ups and downs — on one hand, a wide-ranging charging network; on the other, a series of bizarre glitches that periodically come to light. All of which makes it understandable that Tesla would have a hand in seeing just what can be done with its vehicles’ systems with an eye towards improving them.

As Gizmodo reports, the automaker made its technology available to a group of cybersecurity experts and hackers as part of Zero Day Initiative’s Pwn2Own Vancouver. Zero Day Initiative has a mission of financially rewarding those people who discover software vulnerabilities — hence the “own” part of the event’s name — and one security group left the event with a Tesla Model 3 and a sizable cash bonus for their work.

A team from Synacktiv discovered two different security vulnerabilities in Tesla’s systems. As Gizmodo reveals, one involved hacking the infotainment system; the other found a security issue in the ways that Tesla’s vehicles communicate with Tesla’s Powerwall.

In a Tweet, Synacktiv provided more information on one of the hacks. “After having finished their exploit in an hotel room, @p0ly and @vdehors successfully compromised the Tesla Model 3 infotainment through bluetooth and elevated their privileges to root!” the company wrote. “Combined with the previous entry, this could have been a full chain to take over the car!”

All told, Synacktiv’s team earned them a Model 3 and $350,000. They get money and a car, and Tesla has a severe security issue identified — seems like a win for all involved.

Win the Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix Experience

Want the F1 experience of a lifetime? Here’s your chance to win tickets to see Turn 18 Grandstand, one of Ultimate Formula 1® Crypto.com Miami Grand Prix’s most premier grandstands!