2014 Tesla Model SEnlarge Photo
The technological advancement of vehicles means the risk of hackers infiltrating myriad electronic systems becomes ever greater. For car companies, the onus is on them to ensure their vehicles are secure—preventing their customers becoming a target for the less salubrious members of society.
For Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA], that means hiring the best hackers in the business to ensure the best hackers not in the business can't crack Tesla's code. To do that, reports Transport Evolved (via Green Car Reports), the company recently attended the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas to hire as many as 20-30 hackers. Tesla's own security expert, Kristin Paget, went along to recruit the industry's best talent for improving its current and future vehicles.
Tesla's sudden and rather public focus on security comes shortly after two high-profile hacking stories involving the Model S electric car. In the first, a Model S owner was able to crack into the car's systems and bring up a non-standard web browser on the large, 17-inch central display screen. Tesla monitored the incident from afar and even sent a warning email to the owner, advising them that their warranty could be at risk. In the second, a Chinese security conference recently offered cash prizes to anyone who could infiltrate the Model S computer system to take control of major functions of the vehicle.
In that particular contest, hackers couldn't quite break into the code to such an extent that they could power or move the car itself from a laptop, so Model S owners can rest easy for the time being. But Tesla clearly takes security seriously, and may soon have some of the best hacking minds at its disposal to further secure its electronically-dependent vehicles.