There have been strings of Tesla thefts in the UK that appear to be organized and now two of the thieves responsible were caught on camera stealing a Tesla Model S through a keyfob relay hack.
Earlier this year, we reported on several Tesla vehicle thefts through relay attacks in Europe.
Tesla’s vehicles get rarely stolen and we recently learned that stolen Tesla vehicles in the US have almost all been recovered: 112 out of 115.
But some more sophisticated thieves, especially in Europe, are still able to get away with it due to relay attacks on key fobs.
It’s not a particular weakness of Tesla vehicles and any vehicle with a key fob and keyless/passive entry is subject to it, but Tesla is making it increasingly more difficult for those attacks to work through those recent updates.
Recently, the company shared ‘tips’ to help prevent them, which include disabling Passive Entry (Controls > Settings > Doors & Locks > Passive Entry > OFF).
But if you want to keep the convenience of passive entry, you can also store your key fob in some very simple signal blocking pouch when you are not using it.
Furthermore, Tesla recently released a new optional ‘PIN to Drive’ feature that requires to enter a PIN in the vehicle before putting it in ‘drive’.
Unfortunately, a Model S owner in Epping, Essex didn’t use any of those tips and his car was stolen this week.
Interestingly, the entire theft was caught on camera – resulting in a very interesting video:
In the beginning, we can see one of the thieves searching around for a signal to boost with a device.
He appears to find the key fob signal, even though the owner claims that it wasn’t close to the driveway, and it is sent to the other thief who has a device near the driver’s door.
After that, they both hilariously struggle to unplug the vehicle even though they successfully unlocked the car.
Once unlocked, you simply need to click on the button of the cable’s handle and pull the plug.
Funny how they are sophisticated enough to know how to perform a relay attack on a Tesla vehicle, but they don’t know how to unplug it.
If anything, their struggling resulted in more footage (albeit not great footage) of them that could help lead to their arrest:
If you know anything about these guys, please reach out to the police.
Unfortunately, that specific Model S is most likely already being dismantled for parts already.
If you want to prevent this from happening to your car, you should use the PIN to Drive feature and/or store your key fob in a signal blocking pouch (aka Faraday pouch).