Tech geeks who questioned Tesla Motors Inc’s (TSLA) software security systems now have a chance to win $10,000 and prove they were correct.
From July 16 to July 17 at the SyScan Conference in Beijing, the conference organizers will be setting up a Tesla Model S and some computers for visitors to get a shot at cracking the code of a Tesla Model S and walk off with a $10,000 reward if they succeed.
The organizers explain that a successful attempt requires hackers to use the in-car touch screen to surf the internet and manipulate the vehicle’s controls remotely through a computer.
The Model S boasts a sophisticated software system that runs through an interactive 17-inch multimedia screen that controls the vehicle. The high-tech electric sedan is constantly connected to the internet through the user’s smartphone, a feature that also allows the user to track the vehicle, lock and unlock it, and check the remaining amount of electric battery charge.
This system is very convenient, but is more vulnerable to potential hacking attempts that can access user’s personal information on their smartphone, which will be connected to the Model S system. Indeed, even the car’s controls can potentially be manipulated.
Admittedly, Tesla has been proactive in ensuring maximum security for its in-car systems. It hired the services of genius hacker Kristin Paget, who has served tech giants like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), to overlook the safety features of the Model S software. The system certainly seems robust, as reflected by the considerable cash prize for anyone who can outsmart the car’s security features in the SyScan conference next week.
Tesla has confirmed that it is not officially involved in the competition. It is still unclear where the Model S will come from or what the exact rules of the competition will be, but Tesla will be hoping to learn more from a hacker who can crack down the Model S code – if anyone succeeds.
Tesla stock closed 1.82% higher yesterday at $223.06. The stock has risen 46.33% year-to-date.