×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Breaking a Car's Cipher

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the soon-all-cryptographers-will-drive-fancy-cars dept.

Encryption 253

An anonymous reader alerts us to research out of Belgium and Israel that claims a practical attack on the KeeLoq auto anti-theft cipher. Here are slides from a talk (PDF) at CRYPTO 2007. From the researchers' site: "KeeLoq is a cipher used in several car anti-theft mechanisms distributed by Microchip Technology Inc. It may protect your car if you own a Chrysler, Daewoo, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volvo, Volkswagen, or a Jaguar. The cipher is included in the remote control device that opens and locks your car and that controls the anti-theft mechanisms. The 64-bit key block cipher was widely believed to be secure. In a recent research, a method to identify the key in less than a day was found. The attack requires access for about 1 hour to the remote control (for example, while it is stored in your pocket). The attacker than runs the implemented software, finds the secret cryptographic key, and drives away in your car after copying the key." Update: 07/23 15:27 GMT by KD : One of the researchers, Sebastiaan Indesteege, pointed out that the link to the paper was incorrect; their paper has not yet been released to the public. I also managed to mis attribute his nationality. He is Belgian, not Dutch. My apologies.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

253 comments

Wrong paper (3, Informative)

mkilmo (1146159) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329919)

The linked paper is by Bugadanov (requires the entire code book). The authors of this paper have not published their paper in the wild (yet).

So? (4, Insightful)

Rob_Ogilvie (872621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329923)

If a car thief has access to your keys for an hour, aren't you going to lose your car anyway?

Re:So? (1)

kcbnac (854015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329953)

Make a copy, plant a tracking device or get address off of registration in glove box. Steal car at another time - say, a week later - and no one will think you did it. (Say, as a valet or coat-check)

Re:So? (3, Funny)

robbiethefett (1047640) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330449)

I just like the fact that when someone steals my Jag, they don't have to break the window, or even damage the door lock.. All I have to do is wait for Lo Jack to track down my unscathed car and thank the police when they return it. Sweet. Technology really is making life better for everyone.

Re:So? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329971)

Thanks. We can now safely end this discussion. This being Slashdot though, all the cryptography "experts" will tell us how things should have been implemented.

Re:So? (3, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330029)

Step 1. Stop being lazy. Just turn the damn key in the door.

Step 2. Yeah, if they used 3DES or Blowfish at the time, this wouldn't be an issue.

Step 3. See Step 1.

Bottom line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20331075)

If it can be accessed, it can be stolen.

I am not very sympathetic at this point, because I bought an affordable car that isn't popular among car thieves. It looks fine, runs great, has low maintenance costs, and never gets broken into.

If you are buying a fancy car to show off your wealth or whatever, when perfectly good alternatives exist, you deserve to be robbed.

If you can't afford to have your expensive car stolen, then can you really afford that expensive car?

Re:So? (5, Funny)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330193)

This being Slashdot though, all the cryptography "experts" will tell us how things should have been implemented.

Sorry, we can only communicate through analogies to either automobiles or door locks. Discussion of actual automotive door locks is therefore impossible, and referring to Belgium as "the Netherlands" will have to be the site's sole contribution.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329975)

Valet, car wash, there are many places that you may leave your keys unattended for enough time for this to occur. And after you've been to the same valet or car wash a few times, it's not hard for an employee/thief to figure out where you live (and where your car sits overnight).

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330183)

So if you leave the car with the valet, you can't assume they won't just drive off with it? And in this day and age, use your fancy navigation system to navigate back to your house, which they know is empty since you left the car with them!

Apparenly someone hasn't seen Ferris Bueler's Day Off.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330347)

And your point is exactly? All you did was detail a way to find out where the car will be, which I already said can be figured out. Good job pointing out the obvious, dumbass.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330513)

And your point is exactly? All you did was detail a way to find out where the car will be, which I already said can be figured out. Good job pointing out the obvious, dumbass.

I think the point is (I'm not the original AC) that you drive the victims car to his (soon to be emptier) empty house and fill the trunk with jewelry, plasma TVs, etc.

Now who's the dumass?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330603)

This topic is about stealing cars, not stealing in general. A valet could take a 1970 Volkswagen with a mechanical ignition and do the same thing, but that has nothing to do with copying an electronic keyfob to steal the car later (which appears to be the original AC's point)(I'm not the original AC either).

And to answer your question, the dumbasses are both you and your grandparent AC.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330879)

LOL!

...but that has nothing to do with copying an electronic keyfob to steal the car later (which appears to be the original AC's point)(I'm not the original AC either).

Second non-original AC here again, the original AC mentioned nothing about copying the keyfob. It sounded to me like the Valet hops in the car (with the keys that you just gave him) and heads to your house, using the "home" button on your built-in GPS. And proceeds to clean it out (your front door key is probably even attached to your car keys!).

...the dumbasses are both you and your grandparent AC.
Leave my Grandpa out of this;-)

Re:So? (1)

Raistlin77 (754120) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331181)

Geez you guys are morons. I AM THE ORIGINAL AC (20329975/20330347).

Original comment (by Rob_Ogilvie): If a car thief has access to your keys for an hour, aren't you going to lose your car anyway?
My reply (AC 20329975): Valet, car wash, there are many places that you may leave your keys unattended for enough time for this to occur. And after you've been to the same valet or car wash a few times, it's not hard for an employee/thief to figure out where you live (and where your car sits overnight).

What I meant by that are there are plenty of times that your keyfob is not in your posession, so anybody who happens to have posession of your keyfob (valet, car wash attendant, etc...) can make a copy of it for later use. And, including in-car nav-system, there are plenty of ways for that valet or car wash attendant to find your address, where your car sits peacefully and unattended all night long, and come steal your car with their copy of your keyfob.

You're all dumbasses, except for AC 20330603, who seems to be the only on this thread one who can read and comprehend a damn comment. Sheesh!

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

mvanvoorden (861050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329979)

It's not necessary to physically access the keys, and the owner of the keys doesn't have to press any buttons either, just having the keys in range will suffice. Probably the keys use something like RFID or so.

Re:So? (1)

edittard (805475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330441)

The article (or at least the summary) implies what you say, although I find it hard to believe that someone would be so retarded as to design a key that communicates at all without manual initiation by its owner. Or, to use the technical term, pushing a goddam button.

Re:So? (4, Funny)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329987)

a long time ago I had a girlfriend who liked to put her hand in my pocket and had access to my master key for hours. one day she took something from me using the key, but it wasn't my car

Re:So? (2, Insightful)

varmittang (849469) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330021)

From the description, they do not need physical access to your keys, that why they said in your pocket. That means the person next to you, or a few feet/meters away could be stealing the car keys.

Re:So? (-1, Troll)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330053)

That means the person next to you, or a few feet/meters away could be stealing the car keys.
My god. I envision a whole new series of lolcats.

      Iz in teh elevatur, stealin' ur Beamer.

Re:So? (5, Funny)

dkf (304284) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330137)

That means the person next to you, or a few feet/meters away could be stealing the car keys.
So now we need tinfoil pocket protectors as well as tinfoil hats?

Re:So? (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330343)

On most newer cars, there's also an anti-theft chip in the key itself. The information stored on this chip is directly linked to the VIN number of the car. So the person would ALSO have to copy your key, as it says in TFS. These keys are around $80, and you used to have to get them from the dealer, but apparently nowadays you can get them from Wal*Mart.

Re:So? (2, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330447)

I hate to be a bastard, but someone has to say it.

The information stored on this chip is directly linked to the VIN number of the car
Vehicle Identification Number Number?

Re:So? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330765)

You bastard.

Re:So? (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330355)

"From the description, they do not need physical access to your keys, that why they said in your pocket."

It sounds strange that its possible to read something from the key while not pressing any of the button on it. If it constantly sends out stuff, shouldnt the batteries go away directly then ? Or did I miss something ?

Re:So? (3, Informative)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330943)

"Or did I miss something ?"

Yep. Passive RFID chips require so little energy that the reader can power them with the current the antenna produces when hit by the EM waves from the reader. Usually this means that you have to hold the chip (card, key, etc) very close to the reciever (against it, the key in the lock, etc).

However, that proximity is only necessary if you use the standard reader. There's nothing stopping someone from getting a standard reader and jacking up the power enough to activate and read the chips from a much greater distance.

Unless you get a tin-foil wallet. And tin-foil pockets. Etc.

Re:So? CNC... (5, Interesting)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330149)

While it may be simple to break the code on the chip, you still need a copy of the key unless the car is push-button-ignition.
These days, many high-end car keys are CNC cut (my mini's key has huuuuuge tooling marks from a spindle-out-of-square), which will actually cause a bit of trouble. This isn't something you could easily do a putty-transfer on, nor does the group of people who spend a lot of time breaking cyphers typically overlap with the group of people who have and can work with CNC equipment.
In the end, I think flatbedding the car is the way to go. All the big chop shops are doing this now. If you're small-time, carjack. Alternately, get a real job.

Re:So? CNC... (2, Interesting)

Magada (741361) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330383)

A physical key is still a key, y'know? There is considerable overlap in concepts and techniques - why, putty transfer is simply a replay attack, while a rake is actually used to brute-force a lock by generating many pin position combinations in a very short time.

Re:So? CNC... (1)

theRiallatar (584902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330663)

Nice to see a fellow Mini driver on /.

Anyway, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Mini key communicate with the car's computer system when it's inserted?

I know when I take my car in for its 10k checkups, they just drop the key in this little scanner and pull the mileage off. Could be RF, too, for all I know. I guess one check would be to take my spare key around the car, but not use it to start/unlock the doors and then take it to the dealer and trick em.

Re:So? CNC... (1)

foodnugget (663749) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330921)

I don't think the key has the mileage on it. It does have the vin or some kind of serial on it. Whenever I bring the car in, they check the mileage on the dash.
That aside, the whole point of the article was about how the cipher is breakable, so in theory, someone could pretend to be the key in all virtual senses. My point was that the physical key still adds a degree of difficulty when stealing.
-05 mcc

More than one security level (2, Insightful)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329967)

This is why there is a need for more than one security level. If one anti-theft device fails, there should be a backup - whether it's a simple thing such as "The Club" [winner-intl.com] or a retrieval mechanism like LoJack [lojack.com].

It's amazing that people will invest so much money in a car and won't take any additional steps to protect that investment.

they Still can't simply drive away with your car (1)

atheos (192468) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329973)

There's still a mechanical lock preventing the ignition from being engaged, and they would also have a steering wheel lock to work around. This is effectively bypassing the imobilizer that comes equipt on most modern cars. If someone wants your car bad enough now-a-days, they just take your keys from you.

Re:they Still can't simply drive away with your ca (2, Interesting)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330001)

Some of these cars could quite possibly contain that whole "key in range push button to start" option. My cousin has that option on her car, though I forgot the make/model...

Re:they Still can't simply drive away with your ca (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330283)

There are a lot of cars that can be driven if the fob is in your pocket.

I'm almost tempted to tell my Mom and get her paranoid about her Prius. The thing handles miserably anyway. Sometimes good old mechanical is the best solution.

Not really (4, Insightful)

dachshund (300733) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330309)

There's still a mechanical lock preventing the ignition from being engaged, and they would also have a steering wheel lock to work around. This is effectively bypassing the imobilizer that comes equipt on most modern cars. If someone wants your car bad enough now-a-days, they just take your keys from you.


I just purchased a new car that doesn't have a mechanical ignition system. There's an place to attach the key (doesn't have metal teeth or anything), and a big "Start/Stop" button. The steering wheel lock is also electronic, and is controlled by the electronic signal from the key. I have no idea if my car uses KeyLoq--- I sure hope not.

Mechanical locks are on their way out, largely because they're ineffective against even moderately sophisticated criminals. That's the whole reason Immobilizer systems were rolled out in the first place. This attack effectively stips the immobilizer out of the car and rolls the security back to pre-Immobilizer levels. You only need to look at theft rates among models with and without immobilizers to see what impact that has.

Finally, for those who say that 1-hr access to the key is unreasonable: remember that the attack here is _key copying_, not theft. The immobilizer systems are designed to prevent copying, so that your valet or repair person can't make a copy of your key and steal it later. This attack takes a lot longer than other attacks which are out there (example [wikipedia.org]), but it's still not out of the question.

The basic lesson of all these attacks is that manufacturers need to use strong cryptography rather than custom, homebrewed ciphers. Hopefully with fabrication prices dropping, this will be the last generation of truly ridiculous authentication systems.

Re:Not really (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330581)

Actually, it's easier to just own a car that you don't car about being stolen. After all, there is car insurance. If someone steals my car.... eh. It'll be a pain in the ass a little bit because I've got some stuff in there that lives in there (but shouldn't), but so what? It's simply not worth it to have to deal with electronics that break, batteries that die, etc. A mechanical key works just fine, and is cheaper, and less likely to malfunction.

Re:Not really (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330651)

Agreed. And when you factor in that the average car loses half of its resale value in 3 to 5 years (if well maintained), you can easily get a newer car for cheap. Less insurance cost. Less worries. Less money.

My strategy is to but cars in the 6-8 year old range that are maintained. Continue to do routine maintenance, but as soon as the car has big problems, it gets scrapped or sold cheap. When my wife and I shared a car, I budgeted $220, which covered gas, maintenance and buying another car. With two I think I am up to $375 (have to look at my budget tonight).

Re:Not really (2, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331179)

I do similar, but i buy an older car (one that has already lost all of its value) that is still legally roadworthy...
Then i do the absolute minimal servicing on it, and insure it third party only (the minimum legal level of insurance) and drive it around until it either stops working, or becomes unroadworthy... Then it gets scrapped.
Ofcourse, i am also a member of a breakdown organization!
A side effect of driving a junk car, is that noone will want to steal it. One of the cars i had didn't even lock, and yet it still didnt get stolen because it was dirty, dented and rusty.

Re:Not really (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330773)

In many places you are required to purchase auto insurance that covers theft. This is almost universally true if you finance the vehicle.

My wife and I each have a car. Mine uses this KeyLoq chip, and a couple other security devices, and hers does not. We both have a perfect driving record. My car cost almost double hers when new, and my car is only a year old, while hers is four years old. Yet due to the anti-theft devices, insurance for her car costs more than double what it costs for mine.

It is annoying though when you drop your key in a puddle and suddenly you can't start your car until it dries all the way through (which can take days). Of course, that's only an issue because they didn't seal the damned thing properly...

It's certainly cheaper to own a car that you don't care about being stolen, but you miss out on the pleasurable indulgence of owning a car that performs well, and has fun toys.

Re:they Still can't simply drive away with your ca (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330323)

Some cars have a system where there is no mechanical key. MB & MBW have it, I hear Toyota has some too, presumably Lexus too. Basically, you have a card or fob in your pocket and you press a button to start the car.

Re:they Still can't simply drive away with your ca (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330401)

Bleh. The mechanical lock and steering wheel lock on many cars can be bypassed in 5 minutes with a dent puller. Tap the dent puller into the key switch and pull really hard. The key lock will pop right out. Some cars have an anti-theft arrangement here, so YMMV.

And if someone wants your car bad enough, they'll just put into a flatbed tow truck and drive away with it.

Re:they Still can't simply drive away with your ca (1)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330559)

I actually have removed those. Had a friend, with an old maxima, whose key broke off in the ignition. The maxima actually has a bypass starter located in the dash, but it doesn't free the steering wheel. What I ended up doing is cutting slots into the steering lock mechanisms break-off bolts and removing them. After that, the steering wheel was free and the car started via the bypass.

After taking a quick look at it, I'd say doing this would take 4 minutes at most on his car, now that I'm familiar with it.

His "key" is a flathead screwdriver. Still does it to this day.

Belgium not The Netherlands (1, Flamebait)

mce (509) | more than 6 years ago | (#20329993)

For Christ's sake, get your geography right! the KU Leuven is one of the oldest universities in the world and quite well known around that same world. (For instance, it is the university where the Rijndael algorithmused in AES was developed.) Leuven is in Belgium. Belgium, like in 'the capital of Brussels", for ignorant Americans, or "the country of which Brussels is the capital" for the rest of us.

Re:Belgium not The Netherlands (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330285)

Let me rephrase that a little more politely to dodge the "Flamebait". This is develloped at the Katholic University in Leuven. This is in Belgium, not Holland. It is one of the oldest universities in the world, known for the "rape of belgium" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I#Rape_of_B elgium [wikipedia.org] and, more geeky, the AES encryption algorithm. Now with all the British always joking about "name a famous Belgian", pardon us if we protest when credit due is sent across the border instead.

Re:Belgium not The Netherlands (5, Funny)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330351)

This is in Belgium, not Holland.

It's the Netherlands, not Holland.

Re:Belgium not The Netherlands (1)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330427)

Ok, it is not in the Netherlands, it is not in Holland (a part of the Netherlands), and it is not in Honolulu either...

Re:Belgium not The Netherlands (4, Funny)

AVee (557523) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330719)


It is however an understandable mistake to make, as most Dutch know very well, you can't expect Belgians to figure these things out.


But than again, it's not like linking to a .be domain is a dead giveaway is it?

Re:Belgium not The Netherlands (1)

Ann1ka (604222) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330341)

Also the link to the paper reprint is incorrect. The paper has not been published yet. The post is actually referring other people's work. Go slashdot!

That's why I have a hidden kill switch. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20329999)

My truck doesn't have Air Conditioning, but I DO have an air conditioning button on my dash that connects the coil to ground.

Security through obscurity baby!

Error in the parent post. (1)

gedeco (696368) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330011)

The research has been done in Belgium and Israël, not in the Netherlands and Israël as previuosly stated.

Re:Error in the parent post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330281)

But off course they speak dutch in Belgium too...

oh brudder (2, Funny)

e-scetic (1003976) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330023)

Another reason to carry around an RFID jammer.

Quick, someone create Faraday pants, or should I line my pockets with tinfoil?

The NSA can break into your car in 5 seconds (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330049)

They use your stolen coins and mints to help supplement their black budget.

Occasionally, when computer time is not available, they use a brute-force attack with a crowbar.

Re:The NSA can break into your car in 5 seconds (2, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330527)

They use your stolen coins and mints to help supplement their black budget.
So that's what's been happening to all my spare change. And all this time I thought it was my wife.

So... (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330073)

After following me around the mall for an hour with this little device, they would run the software, get into my Honda Civic, and then...

Hotwire it.

How easy is that? I think they'd just carjack someone before going through the trouble.

Re:So... (1)

MitchInOmaha (1053116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330235)

Appears some of you haven't purchased a car lately ... There are some newer vehicles that the ONLY key is a fob that you never need to even take out of your pocket / purse. And NO, you don't have to be WITHOUT YOUR KEYS for an hour ... they just need access to the fob for an hour. Since it's wireless, you don't even hafta take the key out of your pocket for them. So, you now have a fob of your own that will unlock, and start your neighbor / corworker's car. There's no hotwiring to do. You don't have to break any mechanical locks. YOU NOW HAVE THE FRIGGIN' KEY! -- Mitch

Re:So... (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330741)

There are some newer vehicles that the ONLY key is a fob that you never need to even take out of your pocket / purse.

The ONLY key? What do you do when that little battery runs out and you are stuck in the middle of nowhere? Sounds like a really bad idea.

I have a 2006 Honda Civic. It came with a key.

The Netherlands != Belgium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330081)

http://kuleuven.ac.be/ [kuleuven.ac.be] is a Belgian University situated in Leuven, not in the Netherlands.

I know it's a very small and unknown country for you Americans but please verify your sources.

learn to read, you insensitive clod (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330109)

OK, what part of "Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium" looks like "researchers in The Netherlands"??

In other news: The Canadian president George W. Bush invaded Iran because of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center of Chicago.

Re:learn to read, you insensitive clod (1)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330321)

In other news: The Canadian president George W. Bush invaded Iran because of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center of Chicago.
Why did you post anonymously? This is a variation on a classic Slashdot +5 funny!

I'm American; There is no way I'd mod this down.

YMMV though, I've seen some weird mod's over the years. Like the American political system, I think there are problems with the Slashdot mod system, but it's better than anything else I've seen. And I really believe that the only way to fix it is to get people to understand that the reason for modding at all is to establish how interesting, relevant, or readable a comment is, rather than some game that has a "winner". With a side comment that using mod points to "get even" somehow with someone who has opposing views is wrong. But that is a different discussion that could generate thousands of mods and hundreds of comments in and of itself......

Re:learn to read, you insensitive clod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330487)

In other news:
President George W. Bush invaded Iraq because of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

Makes the same point.

Re:learn to read, you insensitive clod (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331177)

OK, what part of "Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium" looks like "researchers in The Netherlands"??

The part that starts with wierd non-English words, and ends with somewhere (probably somewhere smallish) in Northwestern Europe.

Like it or not, most Americans parse it exactly that way. "Belgium? Nah, I prefer the regular kind of waffles, thanks."



/ self-debasing, here, not trolling
// also not really kidding, unfortunately

Summary (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330125)

According to their slides, all you need is proximity to one of these devices for an hour, and the master key for the manufacturer can be found - which is simply XORd to the vehicle ID to authenticate. They were relying on a vast keyspace instead of a secure encryption method - security through obscurity.

Break one key device, break them all.

Re:Summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330667)

OK, after reading through their papers and slides, what they're saying is:

One hour of access to a single passive keyfob - the kind that you keep in your pocket and press the button on the dash to start the car - allows them to gather enough material to crack the key;

With an investment of about 10,000 euro in off-the-shelf PC's (or access to a botnet) to parallellise a keyspace search and the preparation of a rainbow table beforehand, they can crack the key;

Once they crack one key, they have a master key - which allows them to trivially spoof any and all devices using this algorithm.

Crack one key of any car manufacturer, and you have a backdoor into them all, because you have the chip manufacturer's secret key for the transponder fobs.

One hour is a lot of data... (1)

rsargent (533171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330129)

The key fobs work by producing a new code each time you press it, and the car remembers which ones it's heard, preventing you from recording someone getting into the car and playing it back later.

So I guess the magic is that with an hour's worth of data, you can now figure out the sequence. But why bother? If you somehow can record 3600 fob activations in an hour away from the car, you can with no special knowledge make a key that will work 3600 times. More than long enough to fence the car, or steal the laptop inside.

Re:One hour is a lot of data... (1)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330399)

Older ones, yeah. They're just pseudo-random generators, with the seed in sync with the car. The car accepts the next 15 numbers in the pseudo-random sequence, and when a valid number is used, it locks/unlocks and re-syncs the pseudo-random generator seed. My car manual comes with instructions on how to manually re-sync car and key if it stops working (for example, a kid clicks the key more than 15 times when the key is away from the car).

Note, however, that having past numbers reveals nothing about the next one. You can have all of my past key identification numbers and gain nothing with it

This attack, however, seems targeted at newer wireless keys. The ones that allow a car to unlock when the owner is near, and start with a dashboard switch without need for physical contact between car and key.

Re:One hour is a lot of data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20331031)

Note, however, that having past numbers reveals nothing about the next one. You can have all of my past key identification numbers and gain nothing with it

Your observations are otherwise correct, but that was the main point of the grandparent's comment and you got that wrong. Ideally a sequence from a PRNG does not reveal enough inner state to predict future PRNs from that generator, but for that to be true, the PRNG has to use a cryptographically secure generator function. If there are implementation flaws, state information might still be found through sequence observation.

Explain 1 hour access to the remote (0)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330131)

I glanced at the math heavy PDF. Could not find out what they do with "one hour access" to the keys. The summary says, "while stored in your pocket". But the key fob does not respond to signals. It is an emitter, not a receiver or transponder to my best knowledge. Thus they should be needing more than remote access to the key.

If they need to press the key some 3600 times, intercept the emitted code to calculate the cipher key, and they claim "one can press the unlock once a second, so about one hour access to the key is needed" then it sounds a lot less ominous. IMO.

Still valets, and mechanics will have access to the key fob for an hour and may be they can get the cipher key.

The rate at which electronics shrinks, I would not be surprised by a 128 bit or even a 256 bit cipher keys coming out soon, without any other change to the algorithm.

Re:Explain 1 hour access to the remote (2, Insightful)

MitchInOmaha (1053116) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330291)

The new keys are not like fobs that you have to push a button on ... they are transponders. The car pings them as you get close, and they respond with a code that unlocks the car. Basically, the car is pushing the transmit button. -- Mitch

Re:Explain 1 hour access to the remote (1)

mystik (38627) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330599)

An attack is even easier if the key passively responds --

merely construct a repeater, and hide it near your target car owner. Walk up to the car with the other end of the repeater, and blam, free entry into the car.

Re:Explain 1 hour access to the remote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330313)

"Still valets, and mechanics will have access to the key fob for an hour and may be they can get the cipher key"

Well thats why they give you a valet key with your new car. It does not (at least in Honda Civic case)have any encryption for the door locks, just the usual key stuff (can't open trunk etc)

Re:Explain 1 hour access to the remote (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330601)

Who actually uses a valet key though?
honestly, I dont even know where mine is.

Re:Explain 1 hour access to the remote (1)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330803)

Yeah, but the Valet key has to perform one function by definition... allow you to open and drive the car.

If someone copies the valet key, regardless of whether it is mechanical or electronic, they can now steal your car.

All Ur Virtual Dice... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330141)

All ur virtual fuzzy dice are belong to me!

Daewoo? more like Daew00t. (3, Funny)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330259)

It may protect your car if you own a Chrysler, Daewoo,...

That's okay. If you own a Daewoo, you could hand the key to a thief and they still wouldn't steal it. Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Daewoo? more like Daew00t. (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330325)

I was just thinking how to phrase a similar joke. They should have just stuck to making decent speakers to go in other cars.

If you have the key you can steal it? (0)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330319)

The attack requires access for about 1 hour to the remote control (for example, while it is stored in your pocket).

This may be an interesting academic exercise in breaking a cipher, but if the implication is that someone who has physical possession of the remote is able to open the car, then from a practical standpoint no much has been compromised.

Re:If you have the key you can steal it? (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330531)

a valet would be perfect cover.
set a device that could steal many keys underneath the box they store keys in...

you also do not need to be in physical control of the key. Merely near it.

Symmetric Key Exchange (3, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330361)

Why don't remote keys resync symmetric, unbreakable keys with the car every time they're physically inserted into the ignition?

When someone patents that device, just point to this post as prior art. If it's patent free, anyone can use it, and there's no excuse for not securing cars (and homes, and bikes, and ...) properly.

You're welcome.

BELGIUM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20330425)

actually it was done by the catholic university Leuven in BELGIUM and ISRAEL

Small correction... (1)

packman (156280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20330631)

The hack wasn't by a university from the Netherlands, but one from Belgium (University of Leuven) together with researchers from Israel.

According to the local news here the hack would require you to be in the environment of the key for about 1 hour, after which it would require approximately 1 day of calculation to break the code.

No papers have been released yet - they would release them somewhere in April 2008.

Broken Cipher, you say (2, Funny)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20331039)

Well, that's very interesting, but I have to go.

I'm headed to the annual "Vegan food and wifi jamboree" at the co-op where I expect to "win" a new Prius.

  Of course I have to bring my laptop. Don't worry, just because I'm sitting at the table next to you doesn't mean I'm using my machine to crack the crypto on your key while we enjoy our roasted yams. I'm just writing my tract about municipal wifi and organic gardening.

Oh, yeah? You own a Prius? In red? I always liked red. Man, you have the only red one here...

prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20331059)

Ghost Dog [imdb.com] already did this. Eight years ago.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...