Car and Driver has an interesting news item today on Tesla’s continuing efforts to build an internal team of software hackers to shore up the security of its connected cars.
C&D reports that Tesla is looking to hire up to 30 full-time employees from the hacking community, and used the recent DEFCON hacking conference in Las Vegas to recruit talented software hackers, reverse engineers and the assorted polymaths who attend. Tesla gave out tokens that could be exchanged for a tour of the Tesla factory at the show.
“Our security team is focused on advancing technology to secure connected cars, setting new standards for security, and creating new capabilities for connected cars that don’t currently exist in the automotive industry,” Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean told C&D.
California-based Tesla has already been making the rounds of security conferences. It also made headlines for hiring Kristin Paget, a well-respected hardware hacker who has worked for Apple and IOActive.
[Read more Security Ledger coverage of connected vehicles here.]
Tesla’s electric vehicles are among the most wired on the roads. The company’s cars feature sleek, touch-screen interfaces to control environmental settings and Internet connections that allow Tesla to push over-the-air software updates to their vehicles.
The cars have been the subject of a prior, unsanctioned “hacks.” In July, a mainland China security firm, Qihoo 360 Technology Co., claimed it found a way to hack into systems that control Tesla’s Model S sedan, controlling features like the door locks, car horn and sunroof even while the vehicle was being operated. The hack was in response to a contest associated with the SysCan security conference in Beijing.
In March, the independent security researcher Nitesh Dhanjani exposed weaknesses in the password scheme used to protect many of the management applications that run on its connected vehicles.