Technology giveth and technology taketh.
Those words are ringing very true for a UK Tesla owner who woke up on a normal morning to find his Model S was stolen in the middle of the night. Making matters worse, it was done using a computer hack that hijacked the frequency of the car’s key fob leading to an easy getaway for the thieves.
Model S owner Antony Kennedy went on Twitter to explain the stealthy theft to Tesla CEO Elon Musk and posted the theft on YouTube as it was captured through two security cameras that were deployed at his residence.
When the video begins, you can see the Model S parked in the front driveway as the two thieves walk around the perimeter of the house trying to pinpoint the frequency used by the Model S key fob. They used a tablet and phone to try to catch the frequency and eventually succeed, relaying the signal to the car fooling it into thinking it’s the owner with key fob, unlocking and activating the car.
Interestingly enough, the entire theft was almost undone due to the two thieves struggling to unplug the car from the charger. After a few moments they finally figure it out but not before the security cameras got a few more clear shots of their faces.
Cars with keyless entry always risk this type of theft due to the easy ability of thieves to access the frequency of the key fob. Tesla has known about the issue for some time and recently issued a new two-factor security feature called “PIN to drive” that requires the driver to enter a PIN code on top of having the key fob before the car will go anywhere. Unfortunately, the owner of the Model S did not enable the feature which could have prevented the theft.
Tesla has also suggested turning off the “passive entry” feature (where the car is unlocked as soon as the key fob is detected) as another security measure customers can take.
Worst of all, the thieves even managed to disable remote access to the car which means the owner nor Tesla are able to track the car’s location. This is a perfect example of how technology can make life really convenient but also terrible.