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$200,000 Awarded at Pwn2Own 2024 for Tesla Hack

Participants earned a total of $732,500 on the first day of Pwn2Own Vancouver 2024 for hacking a Tesla, operating systems, and other software.

Tesla hack

Participants have earned more than $700,000 on the first day of the Pwn2Own Vancouver 2024 hacking competition, successfully demonstrating exploits against a Tesla car, Linux and Windows operating systems, and various pieces of widely used software.

The organizer of Pwn2Own, Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), announced that the team representing the cybersecurity firm Synacktiv earned $200,000 for an integer overflow exploit targeting the Tesla electronic control unit (ECU) with CAN bus control. In addition to the money, the researchers won a new Tesla Model 3.

The Synacktiv team has demonstrated Tesla exploits at several Pwn2Own competitions, including at the recent automotive-themed event, at Pwn2Own Vancouver 2023, and Pwn2Own Vancouver 2022. This is the second time their exploits have earned them a car.

This was the only Tesla hacking attempt scheduled for Pwn2Own Vancouver 2024. 

Another significant reward was earned by the team representing Theori. They’ve received $130,000 for an exploit chain involving a VMware Workstation guest-to-host escape and arbitrary code execution with System privileges on the Windows host. 

Another high-value guest-to-host escape exploit targeted Oracle VirtualBox and it earned REverse Tactics researchers $90,000. Two other researchers earned $20,000 each for separate Oracle VirtualBox exploits.

Pwn2Own participants also earned $60,000 for a Chrome exploit, $60,000 for a Safari exploit, $50,000 for an Adobe Reader exploit, $42,500 for a Chrome and Edge exploit, $30,000 for a Windows 11 local privilege escalation, and a total of $30,000 for two Ubuntu local privilege escalation exploits.

On the first day, participants earned $732,500 for a total of 19 unique zero-day vulnerabilities. On the second day, participants will attempt to hack VMware Workstation, Oracle VirtualBox, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Ubuntu, Windows 11, and Docker Desktop.

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The total prize pool for Pwn2Own Vancouver 2024 is $1.3 million in cash and prizes, including the Tesla won by the Synacktiv team.

Related: Hackers Earn $1.3M for Tesla, EV Charger, Infotainment Exploits at Pwn2Own Automotive

Related: Hackers Earn Over $1 Million at Pwn2Own Toronto 2023

Related: Mikrotik Belatedly Patches RouterOS Flaw Exploited at Pwn2Own

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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