Watch Thieves Steal A Tesla Model S In Seconds With Relay Attack

Security camera vision from the UK has been published online show a pair of thieves stealing a Tesla Model S from a driveway in less than 30 seconds.

The Tesla Model S, like so many other cars on the market, uses a keyless entry and start system which operates by detecting the presence of a keyfob and granting the operator access to the vehicle. In recent years, car thieves have been able to exploit the vulnerabilities of such systems in what are known as relay attacks.

All thieves need to do is take a relay box and its associated wires to the front of a house. If the vehicle keyfob is nearby, the relay box copies the signal from the keyfob and sends it to a second thief next to the car. Within seconds, thieves can unlock the doors and drive off.

Also Read: Gone In 18 Seconds – Keyless Entry Cars Are Shockingly Easy To Steal

That’s exactly what happened in this instance. The white Tesla Model S was sitting in the property’s driveway when a man with a relay box and wires approaches the front door. Almost instantly, he is able to unlock the car before an accomplice steps inside, turns the sedan on, and swiftly reverses out of the driveway. Seconds later, those inside the house can be heard talking after discovering their Tesla was gone.

A recent study conducted by the German General Automobile Club found that 230 out of the 237 keyless cars it tested could be tricked into thinking the key is closer to the vehicle than it actually is. On average, it takes thieves using relay boxes just 18 seconds to steal a car.


  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    Tesla should introduce a system whereby if the original key/ fob is not present when it is started that it discharges the batteries through the steering wheel. Shock the ba£#@%s!

    • Sébastien

      But they keyfob IS present with relay attack…

      • Loquacious Borborygmus

        The signal that they send out is.
        The key fob itself could have its own way of interacting with the car when in it.

        • Sébastien

          If it’s wireless, it’d be subject to the relays 🙁
          The only way is to have keyfob that only emit when needed, ahem back to pushing a button

          • Loquacious Borborygmus

            Yes! That’s it!

  • Six_Tymes

    scum of the planet

  • jason wu

    so seriously, how hard is it to put a finger print scanner on the push button start?

    • db

      Multiple drivers then would be an issue or when it comes to selling the vehicle too.

    • Rocket

      Facial recognition is a more likely solution. New Subarus have it, allowing the seats, side mirrors, radio presets, etc to be saved and instantly recalled for multiple drivers.

      • db

        Do you have any issues with your facial features going online? I was curious how far that image of the the driver’s face goes. Obviously the car is online so Subaru is collecting the data. Not sure what they would do with it though.

        I guess that is not really all that different than Apple’s facial recognition iphone unlock setup.

        • Rocket

          An excellent point, especially since I’m one known to be sensitive to potential privacy issues. I’m sure Subaru’s intent is to keep that data local, but it seems logical that would be vulnerable.

          • db

            I’m getting a little fuzzy these days between trying to cooperate with technology by being open minded and other times where my tinfoil hat reminds me I’m going over the edge.

    • Sébastien

      Start button do not exist in Teslas

  • db

    First question is, the driver got in on the “other” side of the car, is this in the UK or is this video taken in backwards camera mode and my second question is when the Tesla pulled out of the driveway, it went the wrong way down the road because I’m thinking it is a one way by evidence of the two parked vehicles on the road facing the same way on opposite sides.

    • Super Rob

      First sentence of the entire article says it’s in the UK.

      • Navigator Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ?

        You are kinda sassy.

        • bonzomatic

          Not really. He’s just answering the long winded question that didn’t need to happen.

          • SnakePlant

            It was a bit sassy, though.

          • db

            I admit I set myself up.

      • db

        My bad, should of had my coffee before I started reading this morning.

  • Mr. EP9

    Really needs to give people the option of disabling their key fobs and things of that nature. This is all too common at this point.

  • Super Rob

    Those were some nonchalant thieves. After the car starts backing out, you would think the guy at the door would be running for his car. Nope, just slowly walking along.

  • Salih Ahzem

    The best part is that the car did not make any sound whatsoever…

    • Rocket

      Or the worst part if you’re the owner. Well, previous owner.

  • salamOOn

    idk could an RFID pouch block the signal…?

    • bonzomatic

      Yes, or a cheap metal box.

    • KAG25

      I got one of those, 5 bucks on Amazon

  • Navigator Navy✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ?

    Good thing all of my vehicles have tracking, so I would know where my vehicles are.

  • KAG25

    We need the option on a expensive car to have a key to start it.

  • KAG25
  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    Yes, cars were never stolen easily when we only used keys…

    • db

      And bodyshops were busier too.

  • Phil Navarro

    Why does a car continue to operate without the Keyfob inside? How about without the proximity of the Keyfob in the interior of the vehicle, you can’t operate the shift mechanism?…… Wait!!!. You’ve fallen over a cliff and can’t be reached without cliff gear. Since the Keyfob is in your pocket and you’re incapable of throwing it up to your friend, you can still Remote start the vehicle, unlock the doors and your friend can go get help….. It’s a safety issue. This type of scenario must happen all the time?!?

    • SnakePlant

      The car was tricked in to thinking the keyfob was closer, that’s what a relay box allows…didn’t you read the article? The only way to prevent this type of theft is to require the key, much like BMW’s a few years back, to be inserted into the dash when the driver does enter the vehicle, essentially completing the circuit.

  • Patrick

    That was cool..

  • SnakePlant

    Another one of those wives who comes home everyday with something new from Home Sense.
    This time, it was clearly a key hang that she posted next to their front door.

    • db

      I have a little shelf right by our door and if I don’t put my cars keys there, I lose them for hours if not days.
      Repetition is a good thing sometimes however I married one of the HomeSense wives.

      • SnakePlant

        A nice little shelf with something on it from HomeSense..

  • Shobin Drogan

    And how many car companies are actively trying their best to stop/reduce this?

  • sidewaysspin


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