Carhackers: Interdicting Vehicle Theft
Guarding your ride, securing your drive
An almost unhackable chip set had been used for decades in millions of vehicles. It was then hacked by thieves who discovered a method to jam the signal to the car, and capture the transmitter output via an antenna between the two.
This was an impractical method to conduct motor vehicle theft, but it had happened — and was a vulnerability that needed to be corrected. That led a client to approach MTSI’s engineers to diagnose the exploit and invent a solution.
How were thieves stealing cars with key fobs?
If a vehicle is operated by a key fob, thieves can hijack the signal with a relay device, accessing the vehicle, and then driving away in the car. In this approach, one thief aims the relay device at the front door of a residence, where proximity keys are often left. The device then transmits the key’s signal to an accomplice near the driver’s door of the vehicle.
“With these amplifiers they’re able to get in and sometimes even start a vehicle,” AAA Northeast spokesperson Diana Gugliotta said.
MTSI designed a development kit with 200-foot range to help T.I. sell the chipsets to OEMs.
Capable of controlling up to 15 separate remote keyless entry devices, the TRC1300/1315 encoder/decoder can learn up to four self-programming encoders allowing different users to access the same system.