Steal this car

Nov. 8, 2007
A group of Israeli and Belgian researchers has successfully broken the cipher algorithm in KeeLoq, the anti-theft digital keys used by Chrysler, Daewoo, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Toyota, and Volvo.

While acknowledging the success of a theoretical attack, Microchip Technology Inc., Chandler, Ariz., maintains that KeeLoq is still secure.

Researchers claim vehicles can be stolen based on cryptographic findings related to the key’s algorithm. Microchip counters that its system involves much more than the algorithm.

Each remote-control device has a unique key consisting of 18 billion billion values. Even with 100 desktop computers, it would take several decades to discover such a key. Thus Keeloq was thought to be secure.

But researchers at the University of Leuven (Belgium), the Hebrew University, and the Technion in Israel found a way to identify the key using algorithm details that were leaked last year. Their method probes a digital key by wirelessly sending 65,000 challenge/response queries, which takes about an hour. Then, using software they designed, the researchers can decipher the unique code.

Deciphering currently takes about a day using a dedicated computer. But once they’ve cracked one key, they know 36 of the 64 bits they need to know. Those 36 bits are identical for every car model a manufacturer makes (different models vary only slightly). After determining the part of the key common to cars of the same model, the unique bits can be uncovered by eavesdropping during remote locking and unlocking.

Sponsored Recommendations

How BASF turns data into savings

May 7, 2024
BASF continuously monitors the health of 63 substation assets — with Schneider’s Service Bureau and EcoStruxure™ Asset Advisor. ►Learn More: https://www.schn...

Agile design thinking: A key to operation-level digital transformation acceleration

May 7, 2024
Digital transformation, aided by agile design thinking, can reduce obstacles to change. Learn about 3 steps that can guide success.

Can new digital medium voltage circuit breakers help facilities reduce their carbon footprint?

May 7, 2024
Find out how facility managers can easily monitor energy usage to create a sustainable, decarbonized environment using digital MV circuit breakers.

The Digital Thread: End-to-End Data-Driven Manufacturing

May 1, 2024
Creating a Digital Thread by harnessing end-to-end manufacturing data is providing unprecedented opportunities to create efficiencies in the world of manufacturing.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!