Man with skateboard at the edge of ramp
Daniel Grill Getty Images/Tetra images RF
By Michal Addady
August 4, 2015

Two security experts have discovered a massive flaw in electric skateboard technology.

The potential for a problem first occurred to Richo Healey, who works on security for payments company Stripe, when he was riding his own electric skateboard, Wired reports. Healey’s board suddenly stopped working when he reached an intersection, ceasing to receive orders from his remote control. As it turns out, the high volume of Bluetooth traffic surrounding the intersection interfered with his remote’s connection to his board.

Recognizing this defect, Healey figured it would be easy to hack a Bluetooth-enabled electric skateboard. He teamed up with Mike Ryan, who works on security for eBay, to develop an exploit which they’ve called FacePlant. They describe FacePlant as “a synthetic version of the same [radio frequency] noise” that Healey experienced at the intersection. The exploit allows the researchers to gain complete control over someone’s electric skateboard, letting them either stop the board completely or send it in reverse at full speed. In either scenario, the rider is put at a risk of being physically harmed.

The pair plan to present their findings at Def Con, an annual Las Vegas hacker conference happening this weekend, Wired reports.

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