An increasing problem with technology is the ease with which malicious hackers can take control of your devices. Sadly, it looks like Tesla’s cars are no better able to block hackers than your smart phone or computer.
Tesla owners really like the company’s keyless entry system, but a new look at the tech shows that hackers can easily gain access to the system and drive right off with an owner’s prized electric vehicle.
“A hack effective on the Tesla Model 3 and Y cars would allow a thief to unlock a vehicle, start it and speed away, according to Sultan Qasim Khan, principal security consultant at the Manchester, UK-based security firm NCC Group,” Fortune Magazine reported on May 17.
It appears that hackers can intercept a car owner’s smartphone, gain access to the entry system, and fool the car into thinking that the owner is physically near the vehicle.
Khan reportedly discovered the hack by tinkering with Tesla’s keyless entry system, which uses the Bluetooth Low Energy protocol to link the user’s phone and the vehicle.
The security expert says that the tools and materials to facilitate the hack only cost about $100 and can be easily bought online. He also insisted that the programing only takes “ten seconds” to set up.
“An attacker could walk up to any home at night – if the owner’s phone is at home – with a Bluetooth passive entry car parked outside and use this attack to unlock and start the car,” Kahn said.
“Once the device is in place near the fob or phone, the attacker can send commands from anywhere in the world,” the security expert concluded.
Fortune added that there is no evidence that the hack has ever been used by someone other than Khan, but the magazine also claimed that when Khan alerted Tesla to the bug in their system, they were not very interested in addressing the concern.
Do you think you will buy an electric vehicle?
Tesla isn’t the only locking system that has BLE vulnerabilities. Fortune reported that entry systems for houses, cars, phones and laptops also have vulnerabilities that Khan can exploit through the Bluetooth system.
At least one company has reported updates to mitigate the flaw. Fortune reported that lock manufacturer Kwikset is looking to make changes to help make its Internet-capable and Bluetooth locking systems more secure.
The vulnerability of Tesla’s keyless entry system is far from the only problem with electric vehicles.
Congress is also pushing a law that would shut you out of your car at the flick of a lawmaker or police officer’s wrist. And this rule is coming from Joe Biden’s administration.
Biden recently signed a law requiring all carmakers to add a remote kill switch to all new cars built after 2026 so that government and law enforcement can shut off your car remotely any time they want to, Daily Caller reported.
But, according to Real Clear Energy, most electric vehicles already have remote kill switches in them. So, by owning one of these cars, you are already giving up a portion of your freedom of movement.
Other problems are also being discovered as manufacturers attempt to ramp up the production of EVs.
A recent report by online car magazine The Drive notes that batteries for electric vehicles have now surpassed smartphones as the main demand for the rare earth mineral cobalt.
Worse, global demand for the mineral has already outstripped what was mined. According to the Financial Times, 176,370 tons of cobalt was produced in 2021, but global demand required 192,904 tons. Of that, the automotive industry demanded 65,036 tons while the cell phone industry only demanded 28,660 tons. And this will only increase as Biden attempts to force the automotive industry to stop producing gas-powered cars and switch to only EVs.
All this isn’t even to mention the mounting evidence that electric vehicles do not provide the cost savings that so many EV proponents say they do.
The longer we go down the road to electric vehicles, the more it seems like a bad idea.