A team won $350,000 and a Tesla by demonstrating the car’s vulnerabilities

In the Pwn2Own hacking competition, security company Synacktiv managed to crack two different systems on Tesla cars. They had the hardware and software on the Tesla Model 3 to find security holes and were able to break into the secure system and take control of certain components of the car. The prize for these achievements was a Tesla Model 3 car and $350,000 USD.

Gateway and infotainment systems on Tesla compromised by hackers

Synacktiv first managed to break into the Tesla Gateway system, the one that connects the batteries to the Tesla Powerwall, the home battery system that allows the car to be charged. The Gateway software also appears to be able to control certain aspects of the car, and the hackers were thus able to unlock the car’s doors and front trunk using this vulnerability. Thus, if this was used by thieves, they could steal anything from the car. This hack was “worth” $100,000 in the competition.

The second hack, however, is even more valuable, as it has been awarded a $250,000 USD prize for it, being classified as a “rank 2” vulnerability, the first such prize awarded under Pwn2Own. By hacking into the infotainment system of the Tesla Model 3, hackers had full control over all components of the car. Thus, a hack of this kind could endanger the safety of the driver and passengers.

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Of course, Tesla willingly participated in this contest and has access to all the vulnerabilities discovered. The company is also the one that made some of the prizes available. So surely these vulnerabilities will surely be fixed with software updates.

Since the contest is called Pwn2Own, the Syncacktiv winners also went home with a Tesla Model 3. This isn’t the first time Tesla cars have been demonstrated to be “hacked” for remote control of various components, including previous Pwn2Own editions demonstrating other such “hacks”.

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