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Team from autonomous EV startup NIO wins car hacking contest at DEF CON 25

The NIO US team took First Place at the DEF CON 25 2017 Car Hacking Village, beating out 10 other teams in the third annual “Capture The Flag” (CTF) security event. Based in Silicon Valley, NIO US is a start-up developing autonomous electric vehicles. (Earlier post.) DEF CON is one of the oldest continuously running hacker conventions, and also one of the largest.

At the conference held, last week in Las Vegas, researchers and hackers devised a series of challenges to understand the vulnerabilities of our connected world. The Villages at DEF CON are places where attendees can go to expand their knowledge about specific areas of interest and interact with the minds running the villages, participate in discussions, hands-on demonstrations, hacking and contests. One topic that has gained exposure over the last year has been security vulnerabilities in modern automobiles; Car Hacking Village (CHV) was one of 16 villages featured at DEF CON 25 this year.

The Car Hacking Village brings together professionals and hobbyists to provide hands-on, interactive car-hacking skills.

At CTF, participants work on a wide array of security challenges, covering WiFi, ECUs, over-the-air updates, encryption, infotainment, gateways, and remote hacking of connected vehicles.

The NIO US “Robamierdas” team won the First Place Prize which included a new Ford F-150 pickup truck (donated by Derive Systems) and the coveted lifetime DEF CON “Black Badge.” A Black Badge is one of the highest honors that DEF CON bestows in recognition of overall elite skills and outstanding contribution to the security community.

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The Robamierdas winners. Click to enlarge.

In March 2017, NIO US announced its first production autonomous electric vehicles will be available in US in 2020. NIO US received its Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit by the California DMV and is currently testing on public roads in advance of the release of its Level-4 production vehicle. NIO US is part of NIO Inc., with investors including Tencent, Temasek, Baidu Capital, Sequoia Capital, Lenovo, TPG and other world-renowned investment institutions.

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