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Tesla Model S hacked in security contest

A security company has managed to hack the Tesla Model S as part of a contest at a Chinese security conference. They were able to access several onboard systems while the car was running, including the headlights and door locks.


The Tesla Model S is essentially a computer on wheels, and as such, it has become the target of a hacking contest at the SyScan 360 security conference in Beijing. One of the contestants, Qihoo 360 Technology Co. apparently succeeded and were able to take over several of the car’s systems. While the car was in motion, the car’s locks, horn, headlights and skylight were all remotely operated by the contestants.

Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk responded by saying he would investigate and take immediate action to repair any legitimate vulnerabilities. ” The company which completed the hack stated that  they were offering to work with Tesla to resolve the issues. As of yet there are no details on exactly how the hack was completed.

While Tesla is not associated with the conference and is not a sponsor of the competition, we support the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities,” commented the car manufacturer. “We hope that the security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith.”


The high tech Tesla Model S is certainly cool, but all that technology makes the Model S susceptible to hacking.

Musk stated in June that Tesla’s patents will be open source so that anyone who wishes to can expand adoption of battery operated cars. Whether this will open up the electric cars for more vulnerabilities remains to be seen. Tesla announced earlier in the year that they would begin selling the Model S in China later this year. Musk has stated that he hopes the sales volume in china will match that of the US in early 2015.

According to Syscan’s website, it is “one of the best known Internet security conferences in Asia.” Since 2004, they’ve held over 20 conferences and in December 2012, “SyScan came to Beijing, China, for the very first time, jointly organized with Qihoo 360, the largest internet security company in China to hold SyScan360.” Syscan held the contest with $10,000 as the prize for successfully hacking the Model S.


David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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