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

Participants have earned more than $1.3 million for hacking Teslas, EV chargers and infotainment systems at Pwn2Own Automotive.

Pwn2Own Automotive results

Cybersecurity researchers and bug bounty hunters have earned more than $1.3 million for hacking Teslas, electric vehicle chargers and infotainment systems at the Zero Day Initiative’s Pwn2Own Automotive competition.

The first edition of Pwn2Own Automotive has come to an end and Trend Micro’s ZDI announced that participants have been awarded a total of $1,323,750 for demonstrating 49 unique and previously unknown vulnerabilities affecting automotive products.

The competition was won by the Synacktiv team, which earned a total of $450,000, including $200,000 for hacking a Tesla’s modem and infotainment system — each exploit earned them $100,000. 

The highest rewards were paid out on the first day of Pwn2Own Automotive, when participants were awarded a total of more than $700,000, including several $60,000 bounties for EV charger hacks and $40,000 bounties for infotainment system hacks. The Tesla modem was also hacked on the first day.

On the second day, besides the reward for the Tesla infotainment exploit, the biggest reward was $35,000, for an Automotive Grade Linux exploit. EV charger exploits earned several teams $30,000.

On the third day of the event, there was one $60,000 bounty, paid out for an Emporia EV charger exploit. There were also three other EV charger exploits that earned researchers $30,000 each. Three attempts resulted in payouts ranging between $20,000 and $26,000 for infotainment and EV charger hacks.

ZDI is now preparing for Pwn2Own Vancouver 2024, which takes place March 20-22 alongside the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, Canada. The prize pool for that event exceeds $1 million.

Participants earned more than $1 million at last year’s competition in Vancouver for hacking a Tesla and several widely used software products. 

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Related: VMware Patches Critical Vulnerability Disclosed at Pwn2Own Hacking Contest

Related: Hackers Earn $180,000 for ICS Exploits at Pwn2Own Miami 2023

Related: Over $1 Million Offered at New Pwn2Own Automotive Hacking Contest

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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