Tesla Wants to Pay Hackers a Full-Time Salary to Break Its Cars

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A.J. Mueller

(Photo Credit: A.J. Mueller)

Computer hackers, call off your salvos against Microsoft and stop trying to wreck our blog: Break into a and Tesla might hire you.

The electric automaker wants to hire up to 30 full-time employees from the hacking community, as evidenced from its display at the recent annual in Las Vegas. More than 10,000 coders and network-security pros (the nice people who point out digital flaws without destroying the whole world) gathered there to brush up on their skills, including demonstrating control over hotel elevators. If you don't speak , you don't attend Def Con

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Tesla wants more programmers to find security holes in its cars, all of which come with internet connections, perform over-the-air software updates, and have an infotainment screen the size of a Times Square billboard that is used to control everything from navigation to the door locks. Although the Def Con event wasn't a Tesla "hackathon" —there, hackers took control of the car's sunroof, lights, and horn—it did allow Tesla to recruit experts for what may become the biggest electronics-security team in the auto business. Interns are being sought, too, and anyone who finds a flaw (there are 20 such mentions at present) and can win "challenge coins" for free factory tours in Fremont, California.

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Tesla's own "hacker princess," former Apple and Microsoft employee , told the that the firm had patched at least one security hole in the Model S reported by an outside hacker. Tesla wouldn't confirm whether it had actually hired anyone from Def Con.

"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 us. We couldn't squeeze any more juice than that, but given Tesla's innovation in this space, we plan on being surprised. What's next, will Elon Musk show up at our next LAN party?

Originally published at .

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