Crooks Steal Tesla in Seconds
Are modern cars getting easier to steal? It seems like there more and more ways to break into cars using tech, with Telsa making the headlines often. Just last week, crooks managed to steal a Tesla in a matter of seconds. Here’s what happened, and how to avoid this happening to your modern car.
I don’t have a Tesla. Why do I need to know about this?
This particular type of attack is not Tesla specific, but in fact affects many cars. Essentially any car with a key-less entry system is vulnerable, unless you take proper precautions. Essentially, these attacks work because the key fobs for key-less entry cars are always transmitting.
So how did the crooks steal the Tesla?
The criminals used a special signal boosting device to pick up the signal that the key fob transmits. Using this, they were able to trick the car into thinking the key was just outside, in the hands of the second crook. Armed with this, they simply opened the door, started the car, and drove off.
The whole attack took less than a minute. The crook with the signal booster had to move around the building a bit to find the key fob’s signal, but he still quickly got it. What actually took the crooks the longest was figuring out how to unplug the vehicle.
Interestingly, Tesla also could not track this vehicle. Because the crooks either blocked or removed the SIM card, Tesla is unable to find it (like they have with previous thefts). So unfortunately, when crooks steal a Tesla or other vehicle in this way, they may get away with it.
If you want to watch this specific attack, the owner recorded uploaded surveillance footage here.
So how do you prevent these sorts of attacks?
First of all, if you are able to park your key-less entry vehicle in a garage, please do so! This just adds an extra layer of defense, which can slow them down or stop them completely.
Second, think about where you store your key fobs. Most people tend to place them very near to the door, which is exactly what crooks want. The signal range on the key fobs is very short, and so if the keys are kept away from the door, signal boosters are less likely to pick it up.
Third, think about using a Faraday cage to store your keys in. Faraday cage bags block all radio signals in and out. So if you put your keys in them, no one will be able to relay the signal outside to swipe your vehicle, no matter where in the house you store your keys. The bags are small, cheap, and very easy to use.
Finally, if your car has other security features, consider turning them on. Tesla’s cars for example offer a “PIN to Drive” feature, requiring everyone to enter a PIN to start the car. If your car has similar features, these should prevent this type of theft.
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