Latest Keyless Car Tech Won’t Stop Hackers

An automotive cyber security expert has warned that the latest keyless car technology won’t stop hackers from gaining access to vehicles.

The latest technology is ultra-wideband (UWB), a high-bandwidth radio frequency used in other high tech applications, including in the military. However, Dionis Teshler, CTO of automotive cyber security company GuardKnox, told TU-Automotive that because it’s only slightly higher frequency than a lot of other devices, the signal could be intercepted. He told us: “UWB is used in the microwave range of frequencies, whereas cell phones, cordless phones, Blueooth everything, are slightly higher. However, there is a lot of equipment out there designed to compromise these frequencies, so it could be slightly adjusted to take advantage of UWB frequencies,” Teshler told us.

Furthermore, it’s possible UWB will be no better than Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (NFC) for keyless car access. “I’m not saying it’ll be better than NFC or Bluetooth – Bluetooth is on the 2.4GHz frequency so a lot of data can be transferred quickly. However, maybe by combining Bluetooth and ultra-wideband, that could be better.”

UWB will make it harder for hackers, though, Teshler said: “As UWB is narrowband, it’s easier for the receiver to listen to the key, because all the data is sent in one short burst, meaning it’s harder for an attacker to get a lock on, over something that takes longer to send the data, which makes it easier to lock on to it.”

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