90 seconds and $195 is all it takes to steal your brand new $100,000 Tesla Model X!!
Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) Researchers from the University of Leuven, Belgium have discovered a few major security flaws in the keyless entry system of the Tesla Model X.
Tesla Model S was also hacked by the same research group and now they have demonstrated that the security system of the Model X too can be bypassed.
The Tesla Model X’s key fob allows the owner to automatically unlock their car by approaching the car or at the press of a button. The key fob is woken up when the attacker is within 5 meters, and once this is done the attacker sends his own software to the key fob to unlock the vehicle.
Once this is done the diagnostic connector inside the vehicle is accessed and a modified key fob is paired to the car, and this allows the attacker to start the car and drive away.
How does the principle work?
Usually, keyless entry in a car is facilitated by the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Tesla Model X is no different. Using a modified Electronic Control Unit (ECU), obtained from a salvage Tesla Model X, we were able to wirelessly (up to 5m distance) force key fobs to advertise themselves as connectable BLE devices.
By reverse-engineering the Tesla Model X key fob we discovered that the BLE interface allows for remote updates of the software running on the BLE chip.
As this update mechanism was not properly secured, we were able to wirelessly compromise a key fob and take full control over it. Subsequently, we could obtain valid unlock messages to unlock the car later on”, says Lennert Wouters, a Ph.D. student at the COSIC research group.
Step by step guide to hack a Tesla Model X
Below is a video released by COSIC on Youtube to showcase the entire operation being carried out
This was a proof of concept attack and till now no real-world attacks have been reported. Tesla was informed of this security flaw on the 17th of August this year, and Tesla will be rolling out a fix for this bug as part of their 2020.48, over the air software update.