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Hack Your Way Into a Tesla Model 3, $500,000 Grand Prize Up for Grabs

Tesla is reviving its participation in the Pwn2Own hacking competition, offering a shiny new Model 3 as both a target and reward!

For those of you who don’t know what Pwn2Own is, it’s a computer hacking competition where hackers compete to exploit security flaws in different software programs and hardware devices. It was first held back in 2007, and Tesla has taken part several times in the past.

At the last year’s event, two cunning hackers identified a security flaw in the Model 3’s browser, which not only won them over $350K in bounty money but also their own Tesla prize car!

This time around, however, things are different – Tesla isn’t just challenging hackers to find security vulnerabilities in its products – it’s also offering a massive reward of a brand new Model 3 and Model S for the hacker who is able to successfully hack into the car.

It’s an exciting opportunity for Tesla techie fans and hackers alike! Even if one doesn’t win, they will still have lots of fun trying their luck!!

Let’s find out what all is this mayhem about.

Hack Tesla Model 3

Unlock the Ultimate Prize: Pwn2Own and Tesla

Tesla’s involvement in prestigious events such as Pwn2Own demonstrates its Silicon Valley pedigree. Although it is often mistakenly described only as an electric carmaker, the company has grown far beyond this label.

At its very heart lies a tech firm. Tesla electrifies headlines with their vehicles yet they are so much more than that!

Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe have become regular contributors to the hacking competition, offering up their products as targets for security researchers. Participating in Pwn2Own helps demonstrate that these companies take security seriously, and are constantly working to make their products as secure as possible.

The difficulty of a full-blown Tesla EV takeover is not lost on the organizers. The organizers know that it is not easy to take over a car. According to them it’s quite difficult to fully capture just how complex this demonstration would be but say they are confident that someone has what it takes to rise above and take home the grand prize!

With one successful exploit skillfully demonstrated, one could indeed drive away as the ultimate winner of all.

What Is Pwn2Own?

Pwn2Own is the world’s premier hacking competition and has brought us some of the most impressive security exploits and discoveries. Every year, hackers from around the world come together to test their skills against some of the toughest targets in technology: web browsers, operating systems, virtual machines, and more.

Tesla Pwn2Own

Through this competition, talented researchers have been able to find and fix vulnerabilities that could have put millions of users at risk. From discovering zero-day exploits to uncovering previously unknown sandbox escapes, Pwn2Own has shown us just how far technology can go when it comes to security.

For the past 14 years, Vancouver has always been hosting an annual running event. Also, Miami and Tokyo have both had the opportunity to host these bug bounty hunts as well.

At the last Toronto event, participants were able to test their skills on SOHO devices such as routers, printers, and NAS systems; not to mention a Samsung smartphone.

Meanwhile, in Miami last April where 26 exploits and bug collisions took place with participants being rewarded $400k for their hard work. Then came May’s Vancouver Event which also showed off 25 unique zero-day exploits – resulting in an outstanding sum of $1.15 million for those involved!

Tesla Is Not the Only Popular Target for Hacking

Pwn2Own is an annual event where the world’s best hackers are invited to try and break into popular tech products. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Mozilla, and Adobe have all participated in the past. It’s a great way for a company like these and Tesla to identify weaknesses in their security systems before they become major problems.

Tesla is offering an incredible incentive for white hat hackers with a chance to drive home in either a Model 3 or Model S. All they have to do is uncover any vulnerabilities within the car’s security systems, and the prize could be theirs. Tesla’s benevolence illustrates its dedication to making sure that its vehicles are as protected and risk-free as possible.

It’s no surprise that some of the world’s biggest tech companies are willing to put themselves at risk to protect their users. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Pwn2Own Over the Years

Last year, Tesla ruffled some feathers when it made a Mid-Range Model 3 RWD the focus of its latest Pwn2Own hacking competition. Not only were contestants vying for bragging rights but also for a shiny new prize in the form of this electric car!

After an intense three-day competition at Tokyo stint last year, Team Fluoroacetate emerged as champions with a record 36 “Master of Pwn” points. They achieved this feat by skillfully exploiting the vulnerabilities in Apple Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, VMware Workstation, and Windows 10. Master of Pwn works like frequent miles in this hacking hunt.

The duo earned an impressive $375,000 in prize money out of the entire award pool of $545,000 during the three-day competition.

For the second consecutive time, Team Fluoroacetate has emerged victorious in a Pwn2Own hacking contest and walked away with the prestigious “Master of Pwn” trophy. It was awarded to them at the 2018’s Tokyo conference for maintaining the top rank among all contestants.

Tesla Security Features on the Line

This year, the organizers want to find ways to hack into Tesla’s Tuner, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Modem components. Hackers must show that they can move from one component of the vehicle’s system to another and successfully execute code against VCSEC, Gateway, or Autopilot.

The organizers of this year’s automotive category gave special attention to Tesla’s numerous layers of security and created multiple tiers of awards that correspond with some of those levels. Entrants can register an entry against either the Intel or Ryzen-based Model 3, as well as the Ryzen-based Model S.

In 2019, two researchers were rewarded with one such automobile after successfully finding various vulnerabilities within the system. Since then there have been numerous other winners taking home both cars and large sums for their efforts in finding bugs and loopholes.

Teslas stand out from any other vehicle on the market due to their advanced software and hardware, providing drivers with an Apple-like experience. This is only one of many features exclusively available in Teslas that no other car can recreate.

Tesla has been responsible for security for almost a decade now. They started a Bug Bounty program. White hat hackers look for security holes in Tesla vehicles.

Thanks to Tesla’s Bug Bounty program, PIN-to-Drive, and other safety features are now available. It’s a great way to show off progress in AI-based security solutions, demonstrate the skills of your teams, and build trust with customers.

Pwn2Own 2023 Tesla Rewards

Tesla is no stranger to innovation, and this year they are taking it a step further – unveiling the more secure Model 3 at Pwn2Own in March with an even greater cash reward. This marks yet another milestone for the electric car maker that has been continuously pushing boundaries since its inception.

Tesla is offering three distinct reward tiers for hackers who can discover and disclose vulnerabilities in the Model 3 and Model S:

Tier 1

The highest “Tier 1” prize requires hackers to traverse various systems of the car to uncover any potential weaknesses. For those seeking the biggest reward, Tier 1 is where it’s at!

Contestants will have to use a sophisticated exploit chain to gain arbitrary code execution on three different components of the vehicle. If you succeed in this challenge, not only will you get paid handsomely, but also receive your own brand-new Tesla!

Tier 2

If the contestant can achieve arbitrary code execution on two distinct components of the vehicle, they will receive a grand cash prize worth $400,000 and their very own car! This remarkable reward awaits those ambitious souls who attain Tier 2 status in this competition.

Tier 3

At Tier 3, one can win a prize by compromising only one sub-system. However, those who hack Autopilot will get the chance to take home their very own car!

How Much Money Hacker Can Earn Hacking Into a Tesla?

Tesla has decided to utilize the popular Pwn2Own hacker contest as a way of motivating security researchers to demonstrate intricate exploit chains that could lead to total vehicle takeover.

The Pwn2Own Zero Day Initiative is offering a lot of money, $600K, to anyone who can create a hack that gets through Tesla cars’ security. This means that the person would be able to do whatever they want with the car once they get past the security achieving arbitrary code execution.

If they succeed, contestants can be rewarded with a Tesla and an impressive grand prize of $500,000. Still not satisfied? There are more options to add on that could increase the money pot up to a staggering amount of $600,000!

In addition to the cash prizes, Tesla is offering up their Model 3 or Model S as an additional reward for taking part in the competition.

What to Expect in the Future?

Ultimately, Pwn2Own is an important event that helps keep the tech industry safe and secure. By participating, companies can identify security vulnerabilities before they become major issues. Not only does this benefit the companies themselves, but it also protects users from potential cyberattacks.

What makes the event even more mind-boggling?

Not only will contestants be rewarded with the vehicle and a whopping $500,000 in cash, but they can opt to take it one step further by increasing their payout to an incredible $600,000. An absolute record-breaking prize amount.

This is easily the most impressive bounty ever offered at Pwn2Own!

Another reason why so many tech companies are willing to participate in Pwn2Own is because of its great publicity. Every year, the event gets a lot of press coverage and this can be beneficial for businesses that want to showcase their commitment to security. It also allows them to show off their products and services in a more positive light.

It’s clear why many of the world’s biggest tech companies are keen to take part in Pwn2Own. It’s a win-win situation, and Elon Musk sure knows how to get free publicity. No big funds for PR events or advertisements just pure intelligence when it comes to exposure.

With each successful exploit, we’re able to understand the inner workings of the systems we use every day, and how to best protect them from malicious actors. It has become a great deal of attraction in the tech world globally.

This year around the hype is even sharper with the massive price pool. Thanks to Tesla!


Elon Musk is known for his revolutionary ideas and out-of-the-box thinking. His most successful companies, like SpaceX and Tesla, have established him as a genius in the tech and AI space. So it comes as no surprise that he is also pushing boundaries when it comes to cybersecurity.

Tesla’s generous offer of a car for free displays its commitment to staying ahead of malicious hackers and provides a unique opportunity for white hat hackers to prove their skills and make some money. Hopefully, this will lead to more secure and trustworthy cars for everyone.

The idea is to offer a financial incentive for ethical hackers to help Tesla identify risks before malicious users can exploit them. What do you think the bounty bag means for Tesla, just an extra-costly marketing gimmick or a clever Musk idea? Please share your views down in the comment!

Purnima Rathi
Purnima Rathi
Purnima has a strong love for EVs. Whether it's classic cars or modern performance vehicles, she likes to write about anything with four wheels, especially if there's a cool story behind it.


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