Hackers make Tesla car unsafe to drive, winning Model 3

A photo of a Tesla Model 3 in a showroom

A group of security researchers has once again proven that the high-tech software and systems of Tesla cars are easily exploited. In the Zero Day Initiative Pwn2Own 2023 Hack Contest Cybersecurity firm Synacktiv successfully breached both Tesla’s infotainment and Gateway networks in a Model 3 car this week, as first reported zero day blog post.

As the name of the contest “Pwn2Own” suggests, the researchers later won the car, as well as: a combined cash prize $350,000 for two achievements.

White hat hackers from Snyactiv breached the Model 3’s Gateway system on Wednesday. It’s Tesla’s Gateway power management interface which communicates between Tesla cars and Tesla Powerwalls— the company’s home network system. Although the security researchers weren’t working on an actual car, the breach would theoretically allow them to open the car’s doors and front hood. Axios report.

The next day, Synactiv was also able to “exploit the infotainment system” in the Tesla and gain a wide enough reach to potentially “take over the car.” tweet from a cyber security company. Zero Day also seemed to confirm this assessment in a post of its own, announcing an added reward for the achievement.

Combined and used maliciously, hackers would easily make a Tesla car unsafe to drive. Fortunately, they were limited to corporate sponsored contest. To the company’s credit, Tesla has tested its technology and will almost certainly patch the security flaws found in Pwn2Own.

That said, this is far from the first time security researchers and hackers have broken into Tesla. Last year, white hat disclosed a vulnerability that could lead to One of the EVs was stolen. Also in 2022, a teenager claimed to have breached an entire global fleet from 25 different Teslas and be able to run remote commands on those cars. Additional hacks in the past have revealed security vulnerabilities car keys and: data security systems.

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