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Security Transportation IT

New Cars Vulnerable To Wireless Theft 280

Posted by timothy
from the unauthorized-driver-detected dept.
tkrotchko writes "In a story published by Technology Review, researchers have demonstrated multiple times that they can bypass the security of wireless entry and ignition systems to take a car without the owner's permission. As researchers in the article point out, car security systems will begin have a real impact to every day use if a thief can simply walk up to your car and drive it away. Although this article is light on technical details, a companion article shows how the researchers accomplished the security bypass. An interesting read, and certainly something that will no doubt be the subject of a new movie any day now."
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New Cars Vulnerable To Wireless Theft

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  • by boom1shot (1663101) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:21PM (#34783758)
    I guess it is possible, but it is human error; nothing else. I acquired certifications for 25+ sales people and finance managers at a dealership that sold 4 different manufacturer's lineups. It is possible to sync those keyfobs to two vehicles, as the keyfob itself is the actual authenticator to unlock the vehicle, in the communication between car and keyfob; and then car just authenticates that, "yes, you have sync'd me to this key before." Unlocking two cars with the same keyfob, regardless of whether or not it is a proximity fob with a continuous signal or a regular old push-button-to-unlock-fob, is only a matter of sync'ing both cars to that fob. It just means at some point in time, there was a cruddy mechanic who didn't decide to wipe the key because, "woops, I just sync'd this key to the wrong car... I wonder what I need to do." They leave the car to go ask someone, and then discover the key is still opening the car it belongs to. Works for them. Those keys didn't come from the OEM ready to open both cars. No way, no how.
  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday January 06, 2011 @05:36PM (#34783954) Journal

    In true slashdot fashion I shall pontificate without RTFA.

    And you would be completely, 100% wrong.

    The keys rely on proximity. What the "attackers" did was to provide a boost to the signals sent out by the car, causing the key to respond at much larger distances from the car than normal. The near-proximity requirement only works one way (from the car to the key), so the key will respond to the boosted signals and the car will pick up the reply if the key is within 100 meters. This attack would allow a key inside a house to unlock and start a car on the driveway.

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