HackaTeslaThon: Break Into a Tesla Model S, Win Some Dough (In China)

2012 Tesla Model S

We’re not sure why it took this long, but Silicon Valley’s automotive darling, the Tesla Model S, is finally being hacked—although not in the way you might think. Forbes reports that a group is holding a Model S hackathon next week in Beijing, China. Unsurprisingly, Tesla isn’t supporting or backing the event.

We’ve delved into what it might take to hack a modern vehicle, but a “hackathon” (a gathering of computer-savvy people where the goal is either to hack something for testing purposes or to create new products) involving an all-electric ride like the Model S is a somewhat unique concept. The event in China, it should be noted, falls into the “security testing” category of hackathons, meaning it’s purely intended to explore the vulnerability of the Model S’s systems.

Tesla’s non-involvement makes perfect sense, of course. What car company would want to endorse or publicize hackers’ efforts to, say, take remote control of the Model S’s giant touch screen or—more frightening—the entire car? Those are some of the goals of the event listed by Forbes, and while you can bet Tesla has done much to prevent such digital attacks, it also doesn’t want to facilitate the release of public how-to guides.

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As for those participating in the hackathon, there’s $10,000 on the line for whoever successfully hacks the Model S and completes a series of yet-unspecified challenges.

About Alexander Stoklosa