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Tesla hired Apple’s OS security expert as connected cars are increasingly becoming a hacking risk

tesla xray 2

Tesla news not directly related to the Model 3 is hard to come by these days, but Electrek learned that Tesla recently hired Apple’s OS Security Manager for a similar role at the automaker. While safety in general has long been an important part of the automotive industry, IT security is just starting to become a factor as connected cars are increasingly becoming a hacking risk.

Consequently, Tesla is building an impressive IT security team led by Chris Evans, not Captain America but the former head of Google’s Project Zero, a team of hackers employed full-time by Google to find zero-day vulnerabilities.

The latest addition to the team is former long-time Apple engineer Aaron Sigel. He joined the Cupertino-company’s product security team back in 2004 and left in 2009 to form his own company. According to his LinkedIn profile, he came back to Apple in 2012 and until last month before joining Tesla, he was a manager on Apple’s OS security team.

Sigel is named as an inventor on several Apple patents related to system security. He is joining a growing security team at Tesla, along with Evans, it also includes two former WhiteHat Security engineers Kyle ‘Kos’ Osborn and Brennan Johnson. Some of the engineers are also part of Tesla’s ‘Red Team’, a group that challenges the organization to improve its effectiveness, like system penetration expert Yoni Ramon, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Tesla had a presence at several security conventions, like DEFCON, to recruit security and software engineers.

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How to “hack” a Tesla Model S [Video]

At DEFCON in Las Vegas last year, hackers Kevin Mahaffey and Marc Rogers, revealed that they managed to hack a Tesla Model S by ripping off the dashboard, connecting a laptop and sending a software command to start the car – basically presenting an alternative to “hot-wiring” the vehicle.

They also managed to install a trojan, while having physical access to the car, to then shutdown the electric motor remotely. The good news is that both hacks require physical access to the vehicle, and the great news is that Tesla pushed OTA software updates to its fleet to fix the issues before Mahaffey and Rogers revealed them to the public.

Tesla’s Head of Security said that the hackers received $10,000 as part of the company’s rewards for Security Researcher.

As for the “poaching war” between Tesla and Apple, it appears that the number of former senior Apple engineers now on Tesla’s engineering team is growing every month. Sigel is only Tesla’s latest hire from Apple. They recently added chip architects Keller and Bannon, but there’s also Apple’s former alloy expert Charles Kuehmann now VP of Materials Engineering at Tesla (and SpaceX which is interesting), Doug Field, former VP of Mac Engineering at Apple and now VP of Engineering at Tesla, and Rich Heley, former Director of Alloy Engineering at Apple and now VP of Products at Tesla.

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Featured Image: Tesla X-Ray developed by Super Uber for the Geneva Auto Show in 2014

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