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100 Million Volkswagens at Hacking Risk

Paul Rubens - August 12, 2016 - 07:40 AM
100 Million Volkswagens at Hacking Risk
Security researchers have revealed that cars made by Volkswagen Group can be unlocked thanks to a software flaw.

(CCM) — Almost every car made by Volkswagen Group in the last 20 years can be unlocked using a relatively simple hack, security researchers have revealed. Computer scientist Flavio Garcia from the University of Birmingham and his team discovered that the keyless entry system used by the carmaker relies on just a small number of global master keys. A thief can get their hands on the the cryptographic algorithms and codes from any key fob and can clone a specific key fob after eavesdropping on the signal emitted by it when the owner locks or unlocks their car. The thief needs to be within about 300 feet of the key fob but only needs to eavesdrop on the signal from the key fob a single time in order to have all of the information needed to clone it.

The cryptographic flaw affects about 100 million cars built by Volkswagen Group since 1995, including Audis, Bentleys, SEATs, Lamborghinis, Skodas, and Volkswagens, and thieves can carry out the attack using a $40 piece of radio hardware to intercept the key fob signals and make a clone. The researchers have also discovered different cryptographic flaws in the keyless entry systems used by Chevrolet, Ford, Alfa Romeo, and Peugeot.

Image: © Photosani - Shutterstock.com


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