If You Own One Of These 24 Cars It Could Potentially Be Stolen By Remote Hackers

cars remote hackers


Considering that most new cars are as much computer as they are automobile these days it’s no wonder that hackers are now finding ways to mess with them.

Now a group of German vehicle security researchers, the ADAC, have discovered that cars with something as simple as a keyless entry system can be hacked.

According to them, 24 different new model cars from 19 manufacturers are especially susceptible.

— Audi A3
— Audi A4
— Audi A6
— BMW i3
— BMW 730d
— Citroen DS4 CrossBack
— Ford Galaxy
— Ford Eco-Sport
— Honda HR-V
— Hyundai Santa Fe CRDi
— KIA Optima
— Lexus RX 450h
— Mazda CX-5
— MINI Clubman
— Mitsubishi Outlander
— Nissan Qashqai
— Nissan Leaf
— Opel Ampera
— Range Rover Evoque
— Renault Traffic
— Ssangyong Tivoli XDi
— Subaru Levorg
— Toyota RAV4
— Volkswagen Golf GTD
— Volkswagen Touran 5T

The ADAC also released a video of a real theft that appears to have taken place using this remote hacking system.

According to Wired, here’s how the ADAC says that it works…

The ADAC researchers pulled off the attack by building a pair of radio devices; one is meant to be held a few feet from the victim’s car, while the other is placed near the victim’s key fob. The first radio impersonates the car’s key and pings the car’s wireless entry system, triggering a signal from the vehicle that seeks a radio response from the key. Then that signal is relayed between the attackers’ two radios as far as 300 feet, eliciting the correct response from the key, which is then transmitted back to the car to complete the “handshake.” The full attack uses only a few cheap chips, batteries, a radio transmitter, and an antenna, the ADAC researchers say, though they hesitated to reveal the full technical setup for fear of enabling thieves to more easily replicate their work.

“We do not want to publish an exact wiring diagram, for this would enable even young [students] to copy the devices,” says ADAC researcher Arnulf Thiemel. As it is, he says, the devices are simple enough that “every second semester electronic student should be able to build such devices without any further technical instruction.”

I think I understood maybe ten words of that, but basically what the hackers do is amplify the signal from your keyfob to enter, and in some cases, start your car without you even knowing it.

Bottom line: If you own one of the 24 cars listed above, you might have an issue, because as Wired points out, “ADAC researchers warn that there’s no easy fix for the attack they’ve demonstrated.”

Until car manufacturers fix the issue there is not a whole lot you can do about it.


H/T The Daily Dot; Cars image by Shutterstock