How Criminals Can Steal A Car Without The Keys

A video was released yesterday showing CCTV footage of a ‘relay’ crime, where thieves steal a vehicle without ever laying a finger on the keys. Adam Brown, Manager of Security Solutions at Synopsys commented below.

Adam Brown, Manager of Security Solutions at Synopsys: 

“This attack can be performed on keyless systems in cars and relates to a flaw in design. Keyless entry relies on weak radio signals only travelling just a few metres and therefore only unlocking the car when you are very close by.

Imagine if you could boost the signal on both ends, boosting the key signal and the car signal just as you do with WiFi extenders? In that model the security breaks since the car key signal is relayed between range extenders meaning the car / key think they are close by when in fact they are not. Once the car is driven away it keeps driving since due to safety requirements the car cannot stop until the stop button is pressed. Any cars with keyless entry and start could be affected.

Keeping your car key in a faraday cage / a.k.a metal cage / box should go some way to prevent or hinder this kind of attack. Certainly don’t keep you key near to your front door!”

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