If you’re Tesla was made before June 2018, you’d better pay attention.
It’s hard to believe that potential car thieves could walk by you, and without you noticing, steal the signal to your Tesla Model S without you even knowing. As per The Verge on the report earlier today (Sept. 10, 2018) it looks like this potential problem was way more serious than anyone originally thought.
Earlier last month Tesla rolled out two-factor authentication for Tesla Model S vehicles. Billed as software update v8.1 2018.32.2 the release notes included, “This release contains minor improvements and bug fixes.” Those that got the update noticed tiny things like the foglight icon moving to a different part of the screen and the delay on the backup camera being non-existent (apparently, the backup camera took a long time to come on.) But bundled into the update was a very important security update dubbed, “Pin to start” that allows Tesla owners to enable two-factor authentication through entering a pin before starting their car.
Just like your e-mail will prompt you to answer several questions that you’ve already pre-selected to get your password back, your Tesla will do something similar, asking for a pin only you know that you enter before your Tesla can move.
All of this stems from a string of Tesla Model S’s stolen in Europe when car thieves stole key fob codes from Tesla owners.
According to Wired, adding to the credence of these reported claims, researchers at KU Leuven in Belgium were able to steal the cryptographic key from a Tesla Model S in a matter of seconds with equipment that cost a couple hundred dollars.
None of this key fob code stealing technology is particularly high-tech nor is this trend new. It’s been done before. But, with this new pin code to start authentication, it doesn’t matter if anyone steals your key fob code. Without your unique pin code, you can’t start the Tesla anyways.
By the way, Tesla owners just disable Passive Entry through the “Doors & Locks” section of the “Settings.”
No word how long your pin has to be or if it’s alphanumeric, but I imagine it can be as complicated as you want it to be.
This is especially useful if you want to lock out your family members from stealing your Tesla in the middle of the night when you’d rather they ask permission.
The possibilities are endless, really.
Kudos to Tesla for pioneering this new two-factor authentication. This might be standard for other car manufacturers in the near feature. Without Over-The-Air updates, they’ll probably have to drive into a dealership to get said update. Maybe a USB mailed out.