Hackers allegedly steal Tesla Model S using key fob vulnerability

Does your car’s key fob still allow hackers access to your car? It sure looks that way. Among the more recent victims is Essex, England-based Tesla owner Antony Kennedy, who says he captured footage of thieves hacking their way into his Tesla Model S. He then uploaded the video to YouTube. Kennedy’s car was in his driveway and the fob was in the house, but the thieves appeared to follow the usual script: Hackers approach a car and use a device to “listen” for the radio ID that key fobs constantly broadcast. Next they intercepted two return broadcasts coming from the fob, ran them through a database to determine the encryption codes, and voila! They have access to the car.

Kennedy’s three-minute video shows two thieves approach the Tesla, and it only takes about 45 seconds for them to open the door (it takes another couple minutes for the whiz kids to figure out how to unplug the charging cable).

Tesla has issued updates, including suggestions on how to better secure the car. Last month the automaker pushed out an update requiring owners to enter a PIN number, in addition to having the fob, in order to start the car; that option was not enabled on Kennedy's car. Tesla also made new key fobs available that use more complex encryption. In a tweet Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said, “Turn on enhanced security via the settings page. This will require entering a passcode to use the car.”

’Course, that doesn’t really help Kennedy until his Model S is recovered.

The problem isn’t limited to Tesla, nor is this a new phenomenon. In fact, any car with a keyless ignition could be vulnerable. Recall a few years ago, when hackers actually took control of a Jeep while it was being driven as an experiment for a technology publication, prompting Jeep to recall 1.4 million SUVs. BMWs, Audis, VWs and many more have reportedly also been hacked. Automakers are scrambling for solutions, including fingerprint identification.

H/T Gizmodo

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