Electric carmaker Tesla Motors is hiring up to 30 full-time hackers to find and close vulnerabilities in the sophisticated firmware that controls its cars.
Producing some of the most digitally connected vehicles in the industry, Tesla has a lot at stake in ensuring that the connectivity that allows its vehicles to be remotely managed doesn’t also provide a gateway for malicious hackers.
A spokesperson for the company stated that:
“Our security team is focused on advancing technology to secure connected cars and on setting new standards for security and creating new capabilities for connected cars that don’t currently exist in the automotive industry. The positions are full time, and we will have internship opportunities as well.”
In 2013, two researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) showed how they could take control of a vehicle through the controller area network (CAN) used by devices in a car to communicate with each other. The researchers showed how attackers could send different commands to a car and cause it to brake or accelerate suddenly or jerk its steering wheel in different directions.
Such concerns have begun gaining wider attention with the federal government’s plans to require all vehicle manufacturers in the U.S. to incorporate vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications capabilities in all light vehicles over the next few years.
Tesla has been among the most proactive carmakers in addressing potential security threats. It was the only automaker to attend the recent Def Con security conference in Las Vegas, where a security executive took the opportunity to promote the company’s responsible vulnerability reporting program and to recruit new team members.