Cracking The Key to Car Immobilisers

Interesting article in New Scientist this week. Karsten Nohl has assessed various manufacturers keyfob immobilisers and concluded that most of the older 40 & 48 bit AES systems are now hackable. Last year he took 6 hours to discover the algorithm used to create the encryption key in a Hitag 2 system. Armed with that algorithm he could in theory unlock any car using NXP Semiconductors Hitag 2 system – according to New Scientist.

Security professionals now believe a move to 128 bit immobilisers is the way forward. Both Texas Instruments & NXP now offer 128 bit AES systems – which would take so long to crack that it’s not worth even trying. Apparently, the car manufacturers don’t see the urgency to switch. They point out that any car can still be removed by a thief using a flat-bed truck & a GPS/GSM radio jammer.

We’ve written previously about crimes here in the UK, involving the theft of laptops & phone from cars by thieves using jammers to stop the owners locking their car doors using the immobiliser keyfobs. Now, in theory at least, they can take your car too.

Written by admin in: 3G,Bluetooth,GSM |

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