Elon Musk Extends Invitation To Hack Tesla Mothership And SpaceX Starlink Satellites

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza April 22, 2020

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Elon Musk extended an invitation to hack the Tesla Mothership and SpaceX’s Starlink satellites. The invitation came after @HackClub announced that Elon Musk would be doing an AMA on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 1pm PT/4pm ET with the club’s students. 

Elon Musk challenged hackers to infiltrate Starlink satellites and the Tesla Mothership before his AMA with @hackclub, described as the world’s largest group of high school hackers. Tesla has a history of inviting hackers to infiltrate their products.

Tesla’s Bug Bounty Program

In 2014, Tesla launched its Bug Bounty program, inviting white hat hackers to find security vulnerabilities in its products in return for a cash prize ranging from US$25 to US$1,000. The program has since grown, and in recent years, the company started giving away its vehicles as prizes for the security researchers. The Bug Bounty Program is responsible for some security features that have been rolled to the fleet, such as PIN-to-Drive, which prevents key fob cloning. 

Elon Musk’s companies are one of the few firms that are open to the idea of white hat hacking as a way to improve the security of its products. Security is crucial as Tesla’s fleet grows, and Starlink gains traction.

Elon Musk’s Hackathon Party

Based on another past event he planned, Musk knows how to plan a party for hackers. Back in February, Elon Musk announced he would be holding an AI party/hackathon at his house. Tesla’s AI Autopilot team would attend the house party as well. 

Later that month, Tesla’s Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence Andrej Karpathy discussed his team’s progress with Autopilot and FSD during a presentation at the Matroid Scaled Machine Learning Conference 2020. Karpathy’s presentation revealed how close Tesla was to releasing FSD and, in extension, deploying its Robotaxi fleet. 

In a tweet last week, Musk was confident that Tesla would deploy its Robotaxi fleet by the end of the year—mostly likely with drivers present first. After his presentation, Karpathy invited those interested in Tesla’s AI work to apply for a place at Tesla's Autopilot Team. Musk has extended similar invitations via Twitter in the past. In fact, his hackathon party announcement was followed by an invitation to apply for Tesla’s AI Autopilot team. 

The invitations for the ultimate hackathon AI party were supposed to be sent out shortly after his announcement. Musk hasn’t given an update on the AI hackathon party at his house, probably because of the pandemic that took hold of the world a few weeks after his announcement. 

Since Musk’s ultimate hackathon probably had to be postponed, Hack Club’s AMA is the next big event for hackers. And Elon Musk made it even more fun with his challenge. 

Featured Image Credit: @hackclub/Twitter

 




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