Nowadays, cars are computers on wheels. The modern automobile can be equipped with more than 100 computers and thousands of lines of code. The computers are connected and operate the entire vehicle.
It’s not a surprise, then, that car burglaries have also turned into a high-tech phenomenon.
THE ONES AND ZEROS OF GETTING FROM A TO B
The computers inside a vehicle are divided into four different categories. A large portion of computers is dedicated to running the drivetrain of the car, such as managing the battery, fuel, or both, analyzing the emissions, and operating the cruise control.
The other category is focused on providing safety. These systems collect information from the vehicle and external environment and offer features like lane correction, automatic brakes, and a backup monitor.
The next category is infotainment systems, which offer audio and video and connect to your devices via Bluetooth wireless communication. A lot of vehicles also link to cell phone services and also provide Wi-Fi connectivity. The final type is navigation systems, which includes the vehicle’s GPS.
Computers belonging to one category frequently need to be able to communicate with computers belonging to another category. For instance, the safety system needs to manage the drive train as well as the information systems.
The main difference between the system in your car and an ordinary computing network is the fact that all the devices within the vehicle trust each other. Thus, if an intruder is able to access a computer, they are able to gain access to other computers in the car.
Like any other new technology, certain aspects of modern automobiles can make it difficult for thieves, while others help. There are many methods of getting into a vehicle that are made possible by modern technology.
HIJACKING WIRELESS KEYS
One of the most advanced features is remote start and keyless entry. Keyless entry is now common on a lot of vehicles and can be very useful. The fob you’ve got is connected to your car with a unique code that both the vehicle and fob have access to, which stops the car from starting in other vehicles. The main difference between keyless entry fobs and ones that allow you to unlock the vehicle is that keysless entries will always be transmitting. So, when you are near your car and you touch your door, it’ll be opened. It was necessary to press the button on old fobs to unlock the car’s door and then insert your key to begin the car.
The first keyless device transmitted an electronic code to the vehicle, and it could unlock. Thieves soon realized that they could eavesdrop on radio’s signal and create an audio recording. They could later “replay” the recording and gain access to the vehicle. For added security the latest fobs utilize only one time codes to unlock the door.
A method for stealing vehicles involves using two devices that create an electronic link between your fob and your vehicle. Someone is near the car, and then uses an instrument to fool the car to send a digital code to confirm your owner’s ID. The device of the thief sends this signal to an accomplice close to the house of the owner that transmits a copy from the signal of the vehicle. If the owner’s fob is in response to the device, the one near the home sends the fob’s signal back to the gadget in front of the vehicle and the car is opened. The thieves are then able to leave, but if they shut down the car they are unable to restart it. The carmakers are trying to correct this issue by making sure the fob is present in the car to be used.
HACKING THE NETWORK
The network that allows all the computers in a car for communication is known as a controller area network bus. It’s designed to permit the computer systems in a car to transmit commands and other information to one another. This bus wasn’t designed to provide security since all of the devices are believed that they are self-contained. This assumption makes it vulnerable to hacker attacks.
Car thieves are often able to gain access to the CAN bus, and then the computers controlling the engine of the car. Engine control units keeps an exact copy of keys that are wireless and thieves are able to copy it to create a blank key fob and use it to get the car started. Another method is to access the vehicle’s internal diagnostics via an actual connection or wireless connections intended to be used by repair professionals. Thieves who have access to the diagnostics on the car gain access to CAN bus.
Another method of hacking networks is hacking through a headlight and gaining access to the bus CAN by the direct wire connection.
Modern thieves also use modern thieves also try the USB attack which takes advantage of an insecurity flaw that exists that is present in Hyundai and Kia automobiles. It’s more of a traditional hot-wiring issue in a car rather as opposed to a computer hack of the highest level. The term “USB hack” is used to describe the USB hack as thieves attempt to break into a car and search for a hole in the column of steering. It is discovered that the USB connector can fit into the slot. This lets you turn on the ignition.
All one must do is to break the window, plug in the USB connector, and then begin the vehicle. This trick has gained a lot of attention because of an unofficial group to young car burglars from Milwaukee called Kia Boyz. Kia Boyz who have gained recognition through TikTok.
Hyundai as well as Kia have released updates that fixes the hole by having the fob inside the vehicle before you are able to start it.
LIMITING YOUR CAR’S VULNERABILITY
Since there are a lot of cars to choose from and the complexity of them is increasing it is likely that there will always be innovative and inventive methods for thieves to rob vehicles.
What are you able to do? There are some things that remain identical as ever to keep your vehicle secure and make sure you don’t put the key fob in there. What’s new is keeping your car’s software up-to-date like you would with your smartphone or computer.