In the world of computers, competitions that challenge so-called "white hat" hackers are fairly common. Break into this system in X minutes and we'll give you Y dollars. Rarely, though, does this world cross over with the realm of automobiles.
At the 2014 SyScan Conference, which runs from July 16 to 17 in Beijing, hackers have the chance to win $10,000, provided they can break into the systems of a Tesla Model S. According to BidnessETC, in order to win, a successful hack will need to remotely access the 17-inch touchscreen display (shown above) that dominates the Model S cabin in order to surf the Internet and access the vehicle's controls.
While we're not computer experts, it seems like a tall order. The Model S may maintain a constant data signal via its driver's cellphone, but it seems unlikely that Tesla hasn't installed a comprehensive security system to prevent electronic tampering. Tesla, for what it's worth, has no part in the competition.
It will be interesting to see if there are any successful attempts. As Forbes mentions, hackers have been successful in gaining access to more conventional automobiles, although those attempts were under the watchful supervision of DARPA researchers.
Of course, we'll find out just how potent the company's security efforts are when the conference kicks off next week.