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Communications of the ACM

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Two Young Hackers Won $375,000 and a Model 3 for Finding Tesla Bug

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Richard Zhu and Amat Cama

Team Flouroacetate members Richard Zhu and Amat Cama with the Master of Pwn trophy at Pwn2Own Vancouver 2019.

Two young computer hackers have won $35,000 and a Tesla Model 3 electric car for finding a bug that let them infiltrate the vehicle's internal Web browser. Richard Zhu and Amat Cama spotted a just-in-time bug in the browser that allowed them to hack into the car's system, and write a message on the vehicle's dashboard display screen, as part of the annual Pwn2Own hacker contest.

Zhu and Cama also scored victories in other hacking events, including exploiting bugs in products like Apple's Safari browser and Microsoft Windows, earning a total of $350,000 in prize money. Tesla promised to release a software patch in response to Zhu and Cama's discovery.

"We understand that this demonstration took an extraordinary amount of effort and skill, and we thank these researchers for their work to help us continue to ensure our cars are the most secure on the road today," Tesla said.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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