BMW, Audi and Toyota cars can be unlocked and started with hacked radios –

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dozens of car models, including BMW, Audi and Range Rover can be remotely unlocked and started using a simple hack, research reveals. 

The hack allows malicious actors to unlock and drive away 24 different car models from 19 manufacturers using a cheap and easily constructed radio amplifier. Called the “amplifier attack”, the hack involves altering the radio frequency in the cars to trick the keyless sensor technology into thinking that the vehicle’s owner is nearby with the key. 

The cars affected include European popular models such as the Ford’s Galaxy, Audi’s A3, Toyota’s Rav4, Volkswagen’s Golf GTD and Nissan’s Leaf. This isn’t an untested threat either, the researchers claim the method has already been used in car thefts, and is evidenced in real surveillance footage.  

The researchers believe dozens more models that use keyless technology could be vulnerable, but they are yet to prove it. Currently, 95 per cent of European car brands use keyless entry. 

The only car that resisted the researchers couldn’t unlock was BMW’s i3. But they were able to start its ignition. And the BMW 730d was hackable, meaning that the German carmaker’s models aren’t immune to the vulnerability. 

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