Researchers in Belgium claim they have found loopholes in the Tesla Model X's on-board security system that could be exploited by hackers and potential car thieves.
Using a self-assembled hardware kit costing just $300, experts from the Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) group were able to hack into the Model X's key fob via Bluetooth.
In doing so, they were able to not only unlock the $160,000+ electric SUV, but start it and drive it away – all in a matter of minutes.
The process was detailed in a video posted to YouTube, in which researcher Lennert Wouters was able to use a Bluetooth connection to rewire the SUV's keyless entry fob, extract an unlock code for the car and, once inside, pair his own key fob with the vehicle to start the car.
"Basically a combination of two vulnerabilities allows a hacker to steal a Model X in a few minutes time... When you combine them, you get a much more powerful attack," Mr Wouters told Wired.
He explained that while security measures were in place to protect against key fob hacks, they lacked the necessary validation processes and thus were easily circumvented by someone with the right skill set.
"The system has everything it needs to be secure," he told Wired. "And then there are a few small mistakes that allow me to circumvent all of the security measures."
Mr Wouters reportedly alerted the electric car maker to the issue back in August and Tesla responded by informing him a software update would soon be rolled out that would remedy at least one of the vulnerabilities he had uncovered.
Mr Wouters also said that he had not published any of the code that would allow others to attempt copycat hacks.
CarAdvice contacted Tesla Australia for clarity as to whether Australian vehicles were affected by the vulnerabilities, but did not receive a response.