Currently reading: Security flaws in Tesla and McLaren keyless entry found
Belgian University team uncovers serious hacking risk to keyless entry system developed by Pektron
News
2 mins read
10 September 2018

A team of researchers at the University of Leuven, Belgium, have uncovered a serious security flaw in a keyless entry and start system used by brands such as Tesla and McLaren

The team at the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography research group (COSIC) were able to attack and clone the key fob of two Tesla Model S cars in “a matter of seconds”, allowing an attacker to unlock and start the vehicle. 

The system, developed by software company Pektron, is said to be fitted to a number of high-end models. It’s easier to attack than other systems of this type, according to the research team, because attackers don’t need to be close to the car and key fob at the same time. The released video, below, shows how quickly the Model S can be accessed.

McLaren has confirmed that the research demonstrates a “theoretical vulnerability in our vehicle security systems”, but it has “not been proven to affect our vehicles, and we know of no McLaren that has been compromised in such a way”. Customers are being contacted by email to inform them of the issue, however, and are being sent a signal blocking pouch for the car’s key. 

Tesla previously released a ‘pin to drive’ security feature as a response to the findings, which the researchers recommend owners use alongside disabling the passive entry system. 

Read more: 

Major manufacturers reveal plans to make car keys obsolete

Tesla Model S vs Jaguar I-Pace: EV twin test

McLaren Automotive: The remarkable rise of the Ferrari rival

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Read our review

Car review

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Join the debate

Comments
22
Add a comment…
Fayolaa 12 September 2018

feel regret I did not know

feel regret I did not know this before I read your article, thank for sharing with us! novel updates

ZenBass 11 September 2018

Two Factor Authentication

There must be a way to introduce Two Factor Authentication

Some US cars have inbedded sensors on the B pillars and Smartphones have finger print sensors

Surely there is a way of have not only the key but another form of identification

We have the technology and it could work

eseaton 11 September 2018

I hate keyless go.

I hate keyless go.

I fail to see what was wrong with a key?

Peter Cavellini 11 September 2018

It’s the future...man!

 I guess it’s a Car of two Camps, Camp one, if it ain’t broke and Camp two, tech has to improve or..?

Cobnapint 11 September 2018

Keyless go is great

Had it on a rental Kuga in Iceland for two weeks, very handy but wouldn't miss it if it was ever not to exist.

It's the car theives I hate.

Find an Autocar car review