Security flaws allow hackers to unlock 100 million Volkswagens


In 2016, researchers at the University of Birmingham and the German engineering firm Kasper & Oswald discovered two vulnerabilities in the keyless entry systems affecting practically every car Volkswagen Group had sold since 1995, estimated at 100 million vehicles. Two separate attacks use cheap, readily available radio hardware to intercept signals from a car owner's key fob and use them to clone the key. A hardware radio is not needed; the researchers were able to perform the attacks using a software-defined radio and a laptop or cheap computer such as an Arduino. Evidence suggests that digitally enabled car theft is occurring; police inquiries was part of the researchers' motivation for investigating.

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Writer: Andy Greenberg
Publication: Wired
Publication date: 2016-08

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