Security researchers claim to have found a way to hack into the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y via Bluetooth. They developed a tool that can open and operate other people’s vehicles in seconds. This is a dream for thieves and a nightmare for Tesla: According to the NCC Group, it has developed a tool that allows the electric pioneer’s vehicles to be opened and started in seconds. as the Reuters news agency reports, Tesla has not yet commented on this security issue. The agency’s questions remain unanswered – but at Tesla, the alarm bells are certainly ringing at an unbearable volume.
The security researchers are using a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) relay attack to bypass existing authentication security measures. The vehicle is fooled into believing that an authorized driver will open it with one of the well-known options such as a key card or a registered smartphone. According to Sultan Qasim Khan, senior security consultant at NCC Group, the attack takes about ten seconds to execute and can be repeated endlessly. This, in turn, means the researchers are exploiting a vulnerability that allows them to unlock car doors without, for example, pre-intercepting an individual vehicle’s key codes, as is the case with similar attacks.
Relay attack tool opens doors
“The NCC Group was able to use this newly developed relay attack tool to unlock and control the vehicle while the iPhone was out of the vehicle’s BLE range,” explains the NCC Group. According to security researchers, the vulnerability should not simply be seen as a conventional flaw that could be fixed with a software patch. The BLE-based authentication was not originally designed for use in locking mechanisms and therefore carries a high risk. For Tesla, this points to a major safety issue. Even if the group can provide an update quickly, it will take some time for all vehicles to receive their update – until then there is an incalculable risk of theft.
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