Just a few days after panic erupted due to a series of security breaches in Android phones were discovered, now it seems that a huge number of Volkswagen cars are under threat from crafty hackers. When will it end!
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have partnered with German security firm Kasper & Oswald to produce a document assessing the risk that Volkswagen cars are now under, which has shown that with only limited tools a car can be broken into very easily.
Using a homemade radio, wireless key signals can be monitored and targeted, eventually being used to created a cloned digital key for easy access. While intended to be cryptographically secure, in practice it has been shown that not much can be done to prevent a digital theft, as the lapse security measures suffer from a variety of severe weaknesses.
In the preceding tests, researchers were able to quickly and easily break into a number of different Volkswagen products using the radio method. They were also able to create a skeleton key of sorts, which could access a large selection of cars from the same source.
Not all of the information has been made public, for obvious reasons, but it is clear that security will have to step up their game in the future. Researchers expressed their shock that millions of keys were carelessly using almost identical security measures, making a consumer’s investment in constant risk of theft.
Both parties have been in constant communication with Volkswagen since November 2015 to discuss the issue at hand, and it is promised that work focusing on resolving the issue is underway. A number of modern Volkswagen vehicles are safe from the error, including the Passat and Golf brands.
This research is one of many recent revelations about the surprisingly weak security in modern automobiles, the solution to which will be extensive and slow. However, extra small scale security updates can be added painlessly to minimize the risks, but not entirely eliminate them.
We need more reckless Robocop security to keep us safe in these dark times.