Donut Media, a Los Angeles-based firm that runs an eponymous channel on Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL GOOG, says it broke into a Tesla Inc TSLA vehicle with a $20 device.
What Happened: Donut’s Jeremiah Burton detailed how he was able to “steal” a Tesla using a relay attack in the video.
Helping Burton on his quest was the principal security consultant and researcher at NCC Group, Sultan Qasim Khan. NCC is a U.K.-based information assurance firm that engages in cybersecurity consulting.
Khan discovered a new kind of relay attack that works on cars like Tesla, according to Burton.
Donut’s Justin Freeman said that Khan had discovered a “huge vulnerability in keyless entry technology” specifically “phone as a key," a method being used by a lot of companies including Tesla.
See Also: How To Buy Tesla (TSLA) Stock
Why It Matters: Khan told Freeman that he used “free software” and “off-the-shelf hardware” to make a relaying device to break into the vehicle for as low as $10. Since two of these devices are needed, the total came to $20.
Khan said his devices were 15 meters (approx. 50 feet) away from the car but added that if there weren’t strict latency limits such devices could open a car from even the “opposite sides of the planet.”
In the video of the test, Freeman opens a Tesla outside the Donut office, while another member 50 feet away inside the building had the phone that worked as a key.
Freeman successfully gained entry into the Tesla vehicle and was able to start it and drive it away. He had a message for Tesla CEO Elon Musk: “Fix it Elon!”
Benzinga’s Take: NCC Group had previously said in 2021 that the hack works on a Tesla Model Y, but it could also work on any vehicle relying on Bluetooth. Tesla vehicle owners could resort to using a PIN, which must be entered for the car to be driven.
Price Action: On Wednesday, Tesla shares closed 1.7% higher at $711.12 in the regular session and fell nearly 1% to $704.05 in the after-hours trading, according to data from Benzinga Pro.
Photo via Ivan Kurmyshov on Shutterstock
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