Right now, the Tesla Model S comes with either a 70, 85 or 90 kWh battery pack, but it looks like a bigger battery could be on the horizon. One computer wiz claims to have have hacked into Tesla’s firmware and discovered a reference to a juicier battery.
Self-proclaimed white hat hacker (the “good” kind of hacker who tests and improve security systems) says he discovered a secret in Tesla’s firmware 7.1, but he didn’t want to tell the world outright what he discovered, so he made Tesla Motors Club forum-members work for it by obfuscating the secret with a hash.
TheSHA256 hash, a one-way function, would either require forum members to guess and check to decrypt the code (this is called the “brute force” method), or to look it up in a hash dictionary. Forum member Johan used a hash dictionary (or reverse hash table) and decrypted Hughes’ message, discovering its meaning: P100D.
In response to a fellow forum-member decrypting his secret code, Hughes responded on Twitter:
On the forum, Hughes implicates that he didn’t just find reference to P100D, but he also found the graphic for the P100D badge, saying:
There have been references to the P100D in firmwares as early as 2 months ago. They finally added the badges to 2.13.77. I mucked it up a bit by adding a crappy background (it’s a PNG with transparency in the firmware)...
Are there more secrets to be found in the firmware? Hughes implies that there are, writing on the forum:
There are quite a few things that are in the firmware that I’m not prepared to share publicly. Just like the P100D has been in there for months with my lips mostly sealed. I don’t want to spoil all of Tesla’s surprises.
What’s Elon Musk’s response to all this? Well, when Hughes suspected that Tesla was onto him, he sent Musk a tweet. He responded in typical Elon Musk fashion:
Someone reveals a corporate secret and Musk responds with “Good hacking is a gift.” Total badass.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story said forum member LuckyLuke decrypted the hash, but it was actually Johan.