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Millions of Volkswagens susceptible to key hack

12 Aug , 2016  

The Usenix security conference kicks off later this week in Texas, a group of hackers and engineers have worked out exploits in wireless car key technology.

Using a £50 Arduino kit they have been able to intercept the wireless signals sent from a cars key fob to the vehicle, allowing it to be unlocked.

One of the hacks specifically targeted VW cars has the potential to compromise nearly every model from the last 20 years!

A second version of the attack can compromise nearly every other manufacturer – Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat, Ford, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Opel and Peugeot.

Volkswagen Key - carwitter

VW are at a higher risk though as they all share a certain cryptographic key, this way a key fob can be cloned to gain entry to the car.

For the hack to work the third party equipment has to be within about 300 feet of the target car, there are several different keys for the various VW models and these are stored in different internal components of the cars electrical system. This model unique key has to then be combined with the shared key to gain access.

Only the very latest mark 7 Golf is said to be immune to the attack.

Interested? The full white paper can be found here.

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Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Freelance writer and car journalist I've turned my passion for cars into my livelihood.