Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


IoT Security

Pwn2Own 2019: Researchers Win Tesla After Hacking Its Browser

Researchers win Tesla Model 3 at Pwn2Own

Researchers win Tesla Model 3 at Pwn2Own

A team of researchers has earned $35,000 and a Tesla Model 3 after hacking the vehicle’s web browser at the Pwn2Own 2019 competition that took place this week in Vancouver, Canada.

The third day of the event was dedicated to automotive hacking. Two teams signed up initially, but one of them withdrew just hours before the start of the third day.

Amat Cama and Richard Zhu of team Fluoroacetate, who were the only ones to take a crack at hacking a Tesla, managed to display a message on the car’s web browser by exploiting a just-in-time (JIT) bug in the renderer component. The duo earned $35,000 for their exploit, along with the Tesla they hacked.

This was the first time Pwn2Own had an automotive hacking category. Team Fluoroacetate targeted the Tesla’s infotainment system, but the rewards were much higher for components such as the modem or tuner, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, key fobs (including the phone used as a key), and the autopilot. The highest reward, up to $250,000, was offered for hacking the gateway, autopilot or security system.

Cama and Zhu won a total of $375,000 in cash at Pwn2Own 2019 for demonstrating exploit chains against Safari, Oracle VirtualBox, VMware Workstation, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.

Other participants hacked Firefox, Edge, Safari and Oracle VirtualBox. In total, organizers of the contest paid out $545,000 for 19 bugs.

All the vulnerabilities exploited at Pwn2Own have been reported to vendors, which have been given 90 days to release patches. Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), the main organizer of the event, will disclose the details of the most interesting vulnerabilities once they have been resolved.

Related:Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone X Hacked at Pwn2Own Tokyo

Related: Hackers Awarded $267,000 at Pwn2Own 2018

Related: iPhone X Exploits Earn Hackers Over $100,000

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing 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.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Application Security

Cycode, a startup that provides solutions for protecting software source code, emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday with $4.6 million in seed funding.

Mobile & Wireless

Technical details published for an Arm Mali GPU flaw leading to arbitrary kernel code execution and root on Pixel 6.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple rolled out iOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.2 to cover serious security vulnerabilities.

Cloud Security

VMware vRealize Log Insight vulnerability allows an unauthenticated attacker to take full control of a target system.

Mobile & Wireless

Apple’s iOS 12.5.7 update patches CVE-2022-42856, an actively exploited vulnerability, in old iPhones and iPads.


Security researchers have observed an uptick in attacks targeting CVE-2021-35394, an RCE vulnerability in Realtek Jungle SDK.

Mobile & Wireless

Two vulnerabilities in Samsung’s Galaxy Store that could be exploited to install applications or execute JavaScript code by launching a web page.


Several vulnerabilities have been patched in OpenText’s enterprise content management (ECM) product.