Researchers said they figured out how to clone a Tesla Model S key fob in order to hack into the autonomous car.
With standard radio equipment researchers were reportedly able to defeat the encryption on a Model S’s keyless entry system to wirelessly clone the sedan’s key fob in seconds, unlocking a car and driving it away without ever touching the owner’s key.
Wired reports during a talk at the Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems conference in Atlanta, researcher Lennert Wouters of Belgian university KU Leuven revealed that his team has again found a technique capable of breaking the Model S key fob’s encryption after Tesla redesigned the key that the same researchers previously managed to hack a year earlier.
According to Wouters notes the new attack is more limited in its radio range than the previous one, takes a few seconds longer to perform, and that the KU Leuven researchers haven’t actually carried out the full attack demonstration as they did last year—they’ve just proven that it’s possible.
Wouters said the vulnerability of the key fob comes down to a configuration bug that vastly reduces the time necessary to crack its encryption. Wired reports that Wouters said, “The new key fob is better than the first one, but with twice the resources, we could still make a copy, basically.”