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August 2, 2021
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A hacker has developed a key cloning relay hack for Tesla vehicles and demonstrated it on a Tesla Model X, according to elecktrek.
Tesla was informed of the new attack and it is reportedly pushing a new patch for it. Thefts of Teslas are rare in North America, but some hackers have stolen a string of Teslas using relay attacks in Europe, and many of the vehicles haven’t been recovered. According to comparatech.com, a relay hack is when “an attacker intercepts communication between two parties and then, without viewing or manipulating it, relays it to another device. For example, a thief could capture the radio signal from your vehicle’s key fob and relay it to an accomplice who could use it to open your car door.”
In response to those attacks, Tesla started rolling out extra layers of security with an “improved cryptography” key fob and optional “PIN to Drive” feature. Now Lennert Wouters, a security researcher at Belgian university KU Leuven, claims to have put together a new series of hacks that can get around the new improved cryptography in the key fob. However, it’s unclear if this second part can be avoided simply by using Tesla’s previously mentioned PIN-to-Drive feature, which requires any driver to enter a PIN to put the vehicle in drive regardless of the key fob. Nonetheless, Tesla saw some value to Wouters’ hack, which they were informed of back in August, according to the hacker. He says that Tesla told him they are starting to push a software update to patch his hack this week.
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: CONNOR KMIECIK