There are growing concerns that new cars, but especially all-electric vehicles, could be extremely vulnerable to hackers with cruel intentions. As the world’s foremost electric car maker, Tesla has a duty to customers past, present, and future to safeguard against would-be hackers. So how do you fight hackers? With hackers.
Tesla made news earlier this year when it hired the self-proclaimed “Hacker Princess” Kristin Paget, who has made a name for herself as an IT Security specialist. She was hired away from her self-titled position at Apple to help make the Model S more secure against unsavory types. Paget was on hand at the Def Con hacker conference in San Francisco to try and recruit a few more world-class hackers to the Tesla cause, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Tesla already lists at least 20 different hackers who have helped point out security flaws in the Model S, and Paget has helped fix at least one of those problems herself. But on the whole, the auto industry is woefully unprepared for the security concerns raised by constant internet connectivity. The Tesla Model S is (almost) always connected to the Internet thanks to a 4G LTE connection, and hackers in China have figured out how to operate some non-essential systems (like the doors and lights) remotely. What might happen if an unscrupulous hacker were to gain control of a Tesla’s drive or safety systems?
Tesla seems to be looking ahead thankfully, but what about the rest of the auto industry?