VAG vehicles open to hacking

Keyless entry system can be bypassed

Published:  11 August, 2016

A large proportion of the 100 million VAG vehicles sold between 1995 and 2016 are susceptible to hacking, allowing intruders to bypass keyless entry systems.

A report by researchers from the University of Birmingham and German security firm Kasper & Oswald highlights the problem, which affects vehicles from the VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda stables and requires a homemade radio, with a total cost of £30, making it easily accessible to anyone who understands the process and is looking to steal vehicles.

This is not the first time such a security breach has been reported, with BMW requiring the first ever ‘digital recall’ last year due to a similar problem. Two US hackers also recently demonstrated how they were able to take control of a Jeep at speed.

The vehicle manufacturer has said it is working with the institutes to understand the issues and create fixes, also stating that several new models are unaffected by the issue. The paper suggests two separate attacks affecting different models, with the second, an older cryptographic scheme, opened a more complex vulnerability. The main method saw a hacker spy on key fob signals, allowing them to then clone the key and unlock the vehicle, by reverse-engineering the keyless entry system.

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