Teslas are really great cars and it is a pity when they get stolen. We already covered how something like that could happen in an older blog article, but it was all rather theoretically. Recently though, more and more Teslas apparently have been whisked away by criminals all over Europe.
How is it done?
The first question that comes to mind immediately is: How are they actually doing it? Do the cybercriminals really use a Raspberry Pi and all the other tech described? The answer is no. They use a way more simple method (that would probably also work for other cars that use a key fob).
All the criminals need to steal the highly expensive car is a tablet and a phone. That way they manage to get the signal from inside the house, extend its reach, and relay it to the Tesla parked on the street. Just take a look at the video below to see how easy it is to steal the Model S; the hardest part apparently was to unplug the car!
How to protect your car
While almost nothing protects anything 100% it’s the same here as with your PC or smartphone: Use all the features that are available to you and do not waive your car’s security because you are too lazy. Tesla has actually rolled out some security features that should help you.
1. Use a PIN: Yes, since August 2018 it is actually possible for owners of a Tesla Model S to set a PIN that one has to enter before actually being able to drive away with the car. While that may not be as convenient as only using the key fob, it at least helps to make sure your car stays your car.
Setting a PIN is something the owner of the car from the video didn’t do. He regrets it dearly now.
@elonmusk My @tesla was stolen this morning, with just a tablet and a phone extending my fob range from the back of the house. I get that I should enabled PIN access. I wish it was harder for them to disable remote access though. I can’t track it or disable it. 🙁
— Antony Kennedy (@booshtukka) 21. Oktober 2018
2. Disable Passive Entry: Passive Entry is the feature that makes stealing a car with just a tablet and a smartphone possible. It automatically unlocks the doors of the Model S when you approach it with the key in your pockets. Yes, it is convenient but not without its risks. To disable the feature go to Controls > Settings > Doors & Locks > Passive Entry > OFF.
3. Use a RFID protection: If you no not want to miss out on the above Passive entry feature, there is an easy way to make it way less likely that your Model S will be stolen: Use a RFID-blocking sleeve. You can get them in most of the bigger online stores for a couple of bucks and it’s an money well spent. While you are on it you can also buy one for you IDs – after all it’s better to be safe than sorry.