Tesla Motors wants all its vehicles to be free from any kind of flaws or glitches. To accomplish this, its Chief Technology Officer, JB Straubel recently raised the hacking bounty offered by the firm to $10,000.
Raises bounty ten-fold
Straubel made a surprise visit at Def Con, a hacking event, thanking the team of researchers for uncovering a set of vulnerabilities by which the researchers were able to access Tesla computer systems. If discovered by malicious parties, these security holes could have serious adverse implications on the safety of customers, allowing hackers to control the locking systems remotely, and even control emergency brakes if the speed is less than 5 miles per hour. Hackers can also use the vulnerability to tamper with the data displayed on the driver’s instrument panel along with manipulating the entertainment system of the vehicle.
Straubel announced that the electric car-maker would increase the potential pay-outs for security bugs by ten-fold to make the program even more effective. Until now, the company was paying a maximum of $1,000, but now it will pay out $10,000 for finding flaws with command injection or vertical privilege escalations.
Researchers impressed with Tesla cyber security
Straubel conferred Tesla ‘Challenge Coins’ to Kevin Mahaffey, CTO of mobile security firm Lookout, and Marc Roger, principal security researcher for Cloudfare, for their outstanding achievements. These coins are awarded by Tesla as a token of gratitude to hackers who succeed at finding major security defects in its vehicles.
Though the researchers were able to hack the car’s systems, Rogers and Mahaffey were impressed with the security of the Model S. “We found it was designed very, very well,” Mahaffey noted. “It’s important to realize all of the ways we didn’t get in: It was failure, failure, failure.”
In June, Tesla launched a bug bounty program for hackers to uncover the potential security threats/flaws in the company’s vehicles. Tesla is the first and the only auto maker to have its own bug bounty program, which is a common among tech firms such as Microsoft and Google. Though representatives from many auto makers were present at the event, Tesla was only auto maker with an official presence at Def Con, suggesting the importance of security for the EV firm.