Device allows Malaysian thieves to unlock keyless-entry cars : Report

This article is more than 12 months old

PETALING JAYA Owners of cars using the keyless entry system are at risk of having their vehicles stolen in minutes by a frequency­hacking device that is available in Malaysia.

The device, which costs about RM150 (S$50) and can be obtained online or at some electronics stores, can unlock a car and start its engine by hacking its radio frequency identification (RFID) information.

Car thieves have recruited hackers to install the required software onto their laptops and teach them how to operate the device, according to a source.

"Some local hackers have been approached to offer their services to members of the car theft syndicate," the source added.

There are various ways to steal the encryption code to unlock these vehicles.

"The device has to be attached to a computer and run with simple frequency monitoring software, which can be downloaded for free from the Internet.

"The software reads the frequency transmitted between the remote key and car system.

"It can capture the frequency code used to lock the car. At the same time, it decrypts the rolling codes transmitted back by the car to the remote key, to unlock the vehicle," the source explained.

Another method is by "attacking" the car system.

The hacking device broadcasts a signal mimicking the remote, tricking the car system into responding with a rolling code.

The device captures the code and decrypts it to unlock the vehicle.

The source said the process could just take a few minutes, depending on the hackers' code database.

"Thieves have also been known to steal the code from the remote key by broadcasting a radio signal to it. This emulates the car communicating with the key, which will automatically send a response.

"The car thieves will then capture and decrypt the frequency transmitted from the key and pair it with the car's locking system to unlock the vehicle," the source said.