Hackers Hack Themselves a Fancy New BMW

| 10 Jul 2012 18:55

Looks like a computer controlled car needs more security, not less.

The first time I saw a car with a remote control fob thingy, I thought it was awesome. You can press a button to unlock the doors from fifty yards away? Sweet! With so much of your car controlled by the computer inside, it only made sense to communicate with it electronically instead of by mechanically lifting a silly lever. Then carmakers took it one step further and removed the key altogether, requiring the driver to just carry a fob that broadcast a weak radio signal unlocking the ability to start the engine using the car's computer. Like the plot of Black Ops 2, it was only a matter of time before people started using the car's computer against us. A recent model of an expensive BMW sedan has been stolen way more than the average sports car in the UK, and a security cam video shows the criminals nicking the car by exploiting the "keyless" feature.

A new user calling himself "stolen1m" posted this video in a car form. These thieves are not simple break-a-window hotwire fiends, they are sophisticated computer specialists that researched the specific model of BMW to target. They knew exactly what to do to gain control of the car before they even sat in it.

First, the thieves knew breaking the window in a certain way wouldn't upset car alarm. Then they used a blind spot in the internal ultrasonic sensor system which - funnily enough - is right in front of the port to the on-board diagnostic. The thieves connect a device to this port, gained access to the car's unique key fob digital ID. (All European vehicles are required to keep this port unprotected so that non-dealer mechanics can work on these cars.) From there, they reprogrammed a used key fob to act like this car's fob, got in the car, and drove away. All in less than 2.5 minutes.

BMW won't do anything against these hackers, saying that all car manufacturers struggle against theft. "The battle against increasingly sophisticated thieves is a constant challenge for all car makers," A BMW spokesperson told Jalopnik. "Desirable, premium-branded cars, like BMW and its competitors, have always been targeted. BMW has been at the forefront of vehicle security for many years and is constantly pushing the boundaries of the latest defense systems. We work closely with the authorities and with other manufacturers to achieve this."

Or you know, maybe you could make a car that uses a key to turn on the engine.

Source: Jalopnik

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