Radio amplification attack puts car owners at risk

Hackers can open doors and start engines of vehicles with keyless entry systems using radio amplification attacks.
Hackers can open doors and start engines of vehicles with keyless entry systems using radio amplification attacks.

Car owners with keyless entry systems may want to resort to keeping their key fobs in the freezer following revelations that hackers can easily gain entry to their vehicles using a radio amplification attack, according to Wired.

The technique widens the spectrum of the car owners' wireless key fobs – as much as several hundred meters - to unlock doors and even turn on the motor.

Assembling an attack device consisting of a few chips, batteries, a radio transmitter and an antenna (total cost: $225), researchers in the German auto club ADAC found that 24 different vehicles from 19 different manufacturers were at risk.

Shielding a key fob in a freezer helps block the transmission of radio signals, but there is no quick fix for this vulnerability, the ADAC said. Manufacturers should build safeguards into their wireless key fobs, such as timing constraints that could stop attacks, said the ADAC's Arnulf Thiemel.

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