Tesla Hack Demonstration Shows Even High-Tech EVs Can be Stolen

Telsa electric vehicles certainly have no shortage of high-tech gadgetry. However, everything has a fault point. Whether it be struggling self-driving systems or security, there’s a weak spot in every system. Unfortunately, that means that Tesla vehicles are susceptible to being stolen. With how easy they are to track, it’s not a good idea for car thieves to try to steal one. It is, however, possible. Now, we have an opportunity to see exactly how one might steal a Tesla. Unnervingly, this Tesla hack is surprisingly simple.

It’s as simple as tricking your Tesla into thinking you’re nearby

A Tesla Model S Plaid all-electric (EV) luxury midsize sedan in red driving down a highway
Tesla Model S Plaid | Tesla

According to Insurance Journal, this Tesla hack comes as a result of the vehicle’s keyless entry system. While it may be convenient to use your phone as a key fob, it does leave a bit of vulnerability.

Sultan Qasim Khan, the principal security consultant at the Manchester, UK-based security firm NCC Group, says that it’s simple. All one has to do is trick the car into believing the owner’s phone or key fob is nearby, and they can hop in and drive away as if they had the actual fob.

This hack is possible because of Tesla’s use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) protocol technology for its keyless entry and startup systems. BLE protocol is found on many other cars’ keyless entry systems, as well as things like smart home locks that are controlled by your phone. All a hacker needs is a relay system. It’s two small devices that pick up your phone’s BLE system from outside your house and transmit the data to their own device. Just like that, this Telsa hack allows them to hop in and drive away as if they own it.

“Once the device is in place near the fob or phone, the attacker can send commands from anywhere in the world,” said Khan.

Khan says he informed Tesla of this potential weak spot. However, he said that the EV giant did not deem this to be much of a risk. After all, as is mentioned above, Tesla vehicles are very easy to track via the mobile app. So, getting away with stealing a Tesla is not a task many thieves are likely to achieve.

Still, this simple Tesla hack does seem a bit unsettling. So, what should you do if you own one?

How do I keep my Tesla from being stolen?

Red Tesla Model S EV luxury sedan parked on pavement. The Tesla Model 3 is one of the best used luxury electric cars
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

The most effective action Tesla owners can take to protect themselves from this hack is enabling Tesla’s PIN to drive system. PIN to drive requires owners to set a personal identification number once they’re logged in to their own Tesla account. After entering the PIN and enabling the system, anyone attempting to drive the car must enter the PIN. If it’s entered incorrectly, the vehicle will be disabled from moving.

There are undoubtedly scenarios where PIN to drive could be a nuisance. However, it is a great safety feature that can protect you from car theft.

Of course, the best way to prevent theft is to park your Tesla inside of a garage. However, not everyone has that luxury.

Ultimately, there’s an inherent risk of car theft with every vehicle. Just take proper precautions to prevent it and hope for the best!

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