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  • FIRST POST
    • fourcandles
    • By fourcandles 20th Apr 17, 7:36 AM
    • 116Posts
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    fourcandles
    How secure is keyless entry?
    • #1
    • 20th Apr 17, 7:36 AM
    How secure is keyless entry? 20th Apr 17 at 7:36 AM
    On the Jeremy Vine Show on Radio 2 yesterday there was an article on a spate of thefts of keyless entry cars. This got my attention as we are picking up our new (well, new-ER) car next week, which happens to have keyless technology.

    Apparently criminals are now using a gadget to pick up the weak radio signal from the key fob in the house, amplify it and relay it to the car, which unlocks it, then they can just drive off!

    It appears that the way to avoid this is to keep your key fob in a metal box or wrap it in aluminium foil to block the signal. Which got me wondering, why does the fob have to be transmitting all the time, even when you aren't driving the car? Surely a simple on/off switch on the fob would turn the signal off when not in use?
Page 1
    • facade
    • By facade 20th Apr 17, 8:50 AM
    • 2,589 Posts
    • 1,330 Thanks
    facade
    • #2
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:50 AM
    • #2
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:50 AM
    They are not supposed to work if the key is more than 10cm from the car, I imagine the car tries to wake up the key, but the key won't respond if it is out of range.

    The posh BMWs are covered with aerials and only allow the door (or boot) nearest to the key to open.


    They are about as secure as anything nowadays, as long as you can produce all the original keys for your insurer, and you have gap insurance, you will be fine.
    If someone wants your car, they will take it.

    My Nissan/Renault has remote keyless entry with deadlocking, which works well, the interior mechanism is disconnected when deadlocked, except you'd never get back in with a flat battery, so there is a mechanical unlocker with a keyhole on the passenger side, that the old hacksaw blade with a notch in will open!
    I bet most keyless entry systems are the same, simply defeat the mechanical override then climb in the passenger side, plug the pocket pc into the diagnostic port and reprogramme the security and drive away.

    I think intercepting and boosting the signal enough to get the key in your house to respond, then retransmitting it to the car is a little far-fetched.

    Possibly, they could use the visible VIN number to produce a clone of the key somehow, that would be fairly easy if they had access to a copy of the manufacturers security data.
    Last edited by facade; 20-04-2017 at 8:54 AM.
    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science )
    • Herzlos
    • By Herzlos 20th Apr 17, 9:03 AM
    • 4,725 Posts
    • 4,178 Thanks
    Herzlos
    • #3
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:03 AM
    • #3
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:03 AM
    It doesn't entirely make sense - sure they might be able to open and start it on the drive, but once they've taken it somewhere they'd not be able to start it again.
    • facade
    • By facade 20th Apr 17, 9:59 AM
    • 2,589 Posts
    • 1,330 Thanks
    facade
    • #4
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:59 AM
    • #4
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:59 AM
    It doesn't entirely make sense - sure they might be able to open and start it on the drive, but once they've taken it somewhere they'd not be able to start it again.
    Originally posted by Herzlos
    They don't need to start it again. Only drive it straight inside the container.
    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science )
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 20th Apr 17, 10:06 AM
    • 9,098 Posts
    • 10,200 Thanks
    shaun from Africa
    • #5
    • 20th Apr 17, 10:06 AM
    • #5
    • 20th Apr 17, 10:06 AM
    It doesn't entirely make sense - sure they might be able to open and start it on the drive, but once they've taken it somewhere they'd not be able to start it again.
    Originally posted by Herzlos
    Unless of course, if a laptop was used to copy the signal from the key and that signal was then stored in the laptop and could be used to start the vehicle again or used to program a new transmitter.
    Even if the thieves couldn't start the car again straight away. Once they have it stored somewhere safe with any tracker disabled or blocked, they would then have plenty of time to ship it out of country, strip the car down for parts or simply carry on fiddling with it until they could bypass the immobiliser totally.
    After all, even if it couldn't be started immediately, a £30k+ vehicle would still be worth a fair bit if only used for spares or if it required the engine computer and immobiliser unit replacing.
    • EmmyLou30
    • By EmmyLou30 20th Apr 17, 12:33 PM
    • 276 Posts
    • 325 Thanks
    EmmyLou30
    • #6
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:33 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:33 PM
    The keyless entry on my MINI requires you to be very close to the car with the key.....sometimes if I have my bag slung on my back with the key in that's too far away and I have to hover the handbag closer to the door! So that signal would take some serious boosting to work from the key inside my house. Not something I'd lose sleep over personally.
    • debtdebt
    • By debtdebt 20th Apr 17, 12:46 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 61 Thanks
    debtdebt
    • #7
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:46 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:46 PM
    I have an Audi with keyless entry. The key stays in my pocket and I walk up to the car, place my hand behind the handle and it unlocks. To lock, I just press a small area on the outer handle. However, because it automatically unlocks if i try to open the door, I can never be sure that it had locked. I have to put my trust in the system to work. Sometimes, I just press the lock button on the key itself to make sure it has definitely locked.

    I also have auto boot but once the boot didn't close and re opened when I walked away because something was lying over the mechanism. I walked back to an open boot but thankfully nothing had been taken.
    • shaun from Africa
    • By shaun from Africa 20th Apr 17, 12:53 PM
    • 9,098 Posts
    • 10,200 Thanks
    shaun from Africa
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:53 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 12:53 PM
    The keyless entry on my MINI requires you to be very close to the car with the key.....sometimes if I have my bag slung on my back with the key in that's too far away and I have to hover the handbag closer to the door! So that signal would take some serious boosting to work from the key inside my house
    Originally posted by EmmyLou30
    I realise that they operate on totally different frequencies but I keep one of these
    https://www.amazon.com/Alfa-AWUS036H-802-11b-Wireless-network/dp/B002WCEWU8
    along with a directional antenna in my laptop bag when I'm travelling abroad and it allows me to connect to Wi-Fi routers that are often in excess of 50m away.
    It's cheap and looks like a novelty that won't possibly work but it works extremely well.
    This sort of booster is now old technology and can be manufactured for a few pounds so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that someone has made something similar that will work with keyless fob transmitters.
    • fourcandles
    • By fourcandles 20th Apr 17, 3:04 PM
    • 116 Posts
    • 101 Thanks
    fourcandles
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 3:04 PM
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 3:04 PM
    Some sort of Russian military software apparently!

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thieves-use-laptop-hack-estate-10247459?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_radio_ 2&ns_source=facebook&ns_linkname=radio_and_music
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 20th Apr 17, 3:18 PM
    • 1,822 Posts
    • 1,137 Thanks
    Car 54
    Looks like I should be keeping my car keys in my tinfoil hat.
    • movilogo
    • By movilogo 20th Apr 17, 3:21 PM
    • 2,229 Posts
    • 1,495 Thanks
    movilogo
    If you are worried, just don't buy a car with keyless entry. Simple.
    Happiness is buying an item and then not checking its price after a month to discover it was reduced further.
    • jamesperrett
    • By jamesperrett 20th Apr 17, 4:43 PM
    • 606 Posts
    • 288 Thanks
    jamesperrett
    A drinks can makes a good antenna at the sort of frequency that these keys use so watch out for anyone swigging a can of Coke near your car
    • facade
    • By facade 20th Apr 17, 5:34 PM
    • 2,589 Posts
    • 1,330 Thanks
    facade
    Looking at the article, seems more likely the "laptop" was being used to open the car, there is bound to be some way to do it wirelessly if you have access to the MB data that is "secure"
    I want to go back to The Olden Days, when every single thing that I can think of was better.....

    (except air quality and Medical Science )
    • Marktheshark
    • By Marktheshark 20th Apr 17, 5:54 PM
    • 5,514 Posts
    • 6,907 Thanks
    Marktheshark
    They use RFID technology.
    ANY RFID chip can be read with the correct equipment and cloned.

    As security goes, it is useless if the thief has access to a reader.
    Brexit will become whatever they invent it to be.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 20th Apr 17, 7:03 PM
    • 1,391 Posts
    • 2,113 Thanks
    Robisere
    My new Hyundai Tucson has keyless entry, but needs a 'foldaway' key in the key fob, to start the car. There is what looks like a standard ignition lock, but Hyundai say that any attempt to interfere with the lock, immobilises the ignition. It would need a Hyundai workshop to get it started, rectify damage and reset everything. There is no Start Button, which my previous C-Max had.
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

    • Strider590
    • By Strider590 20th Apr 17, 7:05 PM
    • 10,978 Posts
    • 6,103 Thanks
    Strider590
    Apparently criminals are now using a gadget to pick up the weak radio signal from the key fob in the house, amplify it and relay it to the car, which unlocks it, then they can just drive off!
    Originally posted by fourcandles
    That's nonsense, over simplification for a thick audience, lies or plain old scaremongering.

    The keyfob doesn't just sit there transmitting, it's activated by proximity to the car.

    They're probably cloning the key somehow, because the car should stop if the key gets out of range.

    It of course possible that stupid owners are leaving the keys within range of the car, funnily enough people can never seem to admit when they've done something stupid. In the same way that a lot of people believe that computer viruses just magically appear out of nowhere, because too many idiots can't admit to opening that email attachment or falling for the phishing scam that claimed they'd won 3 million £ on a competition they didn't even enter and followed the link to enter their bank details.
    Having the last word isn't the same as being right.......

    "Never confuse education with intelligence"
    • Johno100
    • By Johno100 20th Apr 17, 7:52 PM
    • 2,704 Posts
    • 2,838 Thanks
    Johno100
    They're probably cloning the key somehow, because the car should stop if the key gets out of range.
    Originally posted by Strider590
    Yes and no. They clone the key via the OBD-II port, but no the car won't stop if the key is removed from the vehicle, just imagine how dangerous that could potentially be.
    • GabbaGabbaHey
    • By GabbaGabbaHey 20th Apr 17, 8:32 PM
    • 807 Posts
    • 490 Thanks
    GabbaGabbaHey
    The posh BMWs are covered with aerials and only allow the door (or boot) nearest to the key to open.
    Originally posted by facade
    My Toyota and my Lexus (both of which have keyless entry) work this way as well, so I'd imagine that it's fairly standard.

    Unless of course, if a laptop was used to copy the signal from the key and that signal was then stored in the laptop and could be used to start the vehicle again
    Originally posted by shaun from Africa
    Most keyless entry systems will use a rolling code to prevent replay attacks like this.

    However, because it automatically unlocks if i try to open the door, I can never be sure that it had locked. I have to put my trust in the system to work.
    Originally posted by debtdebt
    Two of my three cars have automatically folding mirrors, which is very useful in showing whether the car is locked or not.
    Philip
    • thescouselander
    • By thescouselander 20th Apr 17, 9:36 PM
    • 5,059 Posts
    • 4,479 Thanks
    thescouselander
    This technique has been around for a while and is very simple. Basically two thieves will approach a car each with transmitter/receiver unit which is linked to the other using a wireless link.

    Thief 1 will stand near the car with their equipment and the other near the owner's house where the key might be in range of the second receiver/transmitter - perhaps on a hook near the front door. The range of the cars signal is then extended as it is picked up by the thief 1's equipment and relayed to thief 2's equipment where is is re-transmitted to the key - the response from the key then goes back the other way and thief 1's equipment transmits the unlock code to the car and it opens/starts.

    The answer to this is simply not to leave your key near the edge of your house by the from door on on a window ledge etc.
    • bubieyehyeh
    • By bubieyehyeh 20th Apr 17, 10:28 PM
    • 330 Posts
    • 91 Thanks
    bubieyehyeh
    I understand the relay attack works because the system designer made a stupid mistake/shortcut by detecting if the car was nearby using the received signal strength of the keys responce, rather than using something more secure like measuring time of flight of signal.

    Apparently a work around for the problem is to store the key in a metal line bag or metal box, effectively a faraday cage for the key.

    As someone else said other cars are being stolen by breaking a small window or such in order to plug in to the car data port and programming a blank key to the car or something like that.
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