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Tesla Model X cracked by researchers
Tesla stands for innovation like no other company. The electric car manufacturer from California always equips its vehicles with the latest technology in order to guarantee its customers the most comfortable and luxurious experience possible. For a particularly high level of comfort when getting in and out, the Model X can be easily opened and locked, for example, via radio connection and smartphone app.
However, this technique also harbors dangers, as a research team from the Belgian KU Leuven recently demonstrated in an experiment. According to this, the key mechanism of the Model X can be cracked in less than 90 seconds. All they needed were materials worth less than 200 euros, which made it possible to access the vehicle’s Bluetooth system. The keyless-go locking system had no chance against the research team.
Duplicate key created via diagnostic interface
The scientists managed to manipulate the radio lock of the Model X with the help of a self-made device so that the 90,000-euro vehicle could not only be unlocked, but also operated without restriction. The Belgian researchers achieved a similar coup in the past when they were able to copy the keys of a Model S in just a few seconds.
For the experiment on the Model X, the team procured a Tesla body control module from the junkyard, which they linked to a Raspberry Pi minicomputer. The result was a box-like radio transmitter that could control and activate foreign Tesla keys from around five meters away. Once the connection is established, the code of the key can be manipulated and transferred to the box so that it serves as a door opener for the corresponding Model X. The researchers then connected the computer to the Tesla’s diagnostic interface in order to activate a second key for the vehicle. With this key, the research team ultimately got full access to the car.
Software update is intended to close security holes
In the meantime, however, this error should no longer be relevant, because as early as August the team informed the manufacturer about the security gap in the locking system of the Model X. Tesla has set up a department specifically for such cases that deals with bugs and other problems; Notes are rewarded accordingly. The KU Leuven team is said to have been awarded $ 5,500 for the tip. According to Tesla, the gap should be closed with the 2020.48 software update, which will be sent via radio to all Model Xs worldwide. Until the update has actually been installed in their own vehicle, however, every Model X owner is advised to additionally protect the car with a PIN.
Henry Ely / finanzen.net editors
Image sources: betto rodrigues / Shutterstock.com