Keyless cars at risk of being stolen by hackers, hundreds of models vulnerable

  • A new report from consumer advice organisation Which? reveals that hundreds of popular keyless car models are vulnerable to theft by hackers using a relay attack.

    Keyless entry and ignition systems are now included on hundreds of newer car models, allowing owners to open and start their cars with a wireless fob instead of a traditional key. The fob has to be in close proximity to the car in order to unlock it, but several years ago a new security vulnerability in the system was discovered that allows hackers to open the car without physically obtaining the fob.

    The vulnerability is called a 'relay attack' and it involves two people using computer equipment to trick your car into thinking the fob is right next to it even though it may be several meters away in your house. One thief brings a piece of equipment next to the car to to pick up the signal it would usually send to your fob, and another brings equipment up next to your house to intercept the signal from the fob. The two devices then communicate with each other and relay the signals between the fob and car so that they think they're right next to each other.

    Consumer advice organisation Which? analysed data on keyless theft from the General German Automobile Club and found that 234 out of the 237 keyless car models tested were vulnerable to keyless theft attacks. The most worrying thing is that new models of car are still vulnerable to the same attack despite these threats being known for several years, leading to an increase in the number of thieves using the attack.

    Source: BBC News

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