Mercedes Stolen Via Hacked Car Keys

Following the news that a Mercedes car has been stolen via the use of a laptop to hack the car keys, Colin Bull, Principal Consultant Manufacturing and Product Development at SQS commented below.

Colin Bull, Principal Consultant Manufacturing and Product Development at SQS:

Colin Bull“The news that a Mercedes has been stolen using a laptop to hack the car keys is not a unique incident. It is clear there is an inherent lack of security present in this kind of technology and it seems that hackers have identified and are now exploiting using the signal emitted from the device.

The keys use a transmitter and near field communication (NFC) between the key fob and the car. It appears the hackers were able to simply use an amplifier to create a bridge for the NFC range to be extended. This method is simple but hugely effective.

As NFC’s are used passively and actively such as in payment cards, there needs to be a way for the device to ensure that they are being used for the purpose they are intended for.

An immediate fix that companies can implement is to advise customers with NFC keys to ensure they are located far away from the external boundaries of their property and manufacturers could reduce the signal strength so this event is reduced without compromising the benefits this technology provides.”

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