GM Inside News Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

· Registered
2,542 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apparently there's a very serious new hack for Keeloq keyless entry systems. Unlike the previous hack an attacker only needs to sniff two messages to compromise the system. Keeloq is used by Chrysler, Daewoo, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Toyota (Lexus), Volvo, Volkswagen and Jaguar.

Press release:

Remote keyless entry system for cars and buildings is hacked
RUB security experts discover major vulnerability

Access from a distance of 300 feet without traces

Bochum, Germany, March 31, 2008
Researchers from Ruhr University Bochum, Germany, presented a complete break of remote
keyless entry systems based on the KeeLoq RFID technology. The shown vulnerability applies to
all known car and building access control systems that rely on the KeeLoq cipher. “The security
hole allows illegitimate parties to access buildings and cars after remote eavesdropping from a
distance of up to 100 meters” says Prof. Christof Paar. His Communication Security Group in the
Electrical Engineering and Information Sciences Department has developed the break as part of
their research in embedded security.

Two Intercepted Messages are Sufficient
Prof. Paar’s team applied the newest code breaking technologies for developing several attacks.
With the most devastating attack, car keys (or building keys) can be cloned from a distance of
several 100 meters. “Eavesdropping on as little as two messages enables illegitimate parties to
duplicate your key and to open your garage or unlock your car”, says Prof. Paar. With another
malicious attack, a garage door or a car door can be remotely manipulated so that legitimate keys do
not work any more. As a consequence, access to the car or the building is not possible any more.

Newest Code Breaking Techniques
A KeeLoq system consists of an active Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) transponders (e.g.,
embedded in a car key) and a receiver (e.g., embedded in the car door). Both the receiver and
transponder use KeeLoq as encryption method for securing the over-the-air communication. The
attack by the Bochum team allows recovering the secret cryptographic keys embedded in both the
receiver and the responder. The attack is based on measuring the electric power consumption of the
receiver. Applying what is called side-channel analysis methods to the power traces, the researchers
were able to extract the manufacturer key from the receivers. The attack – which combines sidechannel
cryptanalysis with specific properties of the KeeLoq algorithm – can be applied to all
known variants in which KeeLoq is used in real world systems. The practicality of the attack has
been confirmed by attacking actual systems which are using KeeLoq.

KeeLoq: widely used since the mid-1990s
KeeLoq has been used for access control since the mid-1990s. By some estimates, it is the most
popular of such systems in Europe and the US. Besides the frequent use of KeeLoq for garage door
openers and other building access applications, it is also known that several automotive
manufacturers like Toyota/Lexus base their anti-theft protection on assumed secure devices
featuring KeeLoq.

IT Security Research in Bochum
Prof. Paar’s group is part of the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security (HGI), one of the largest
university-based security research centres in Europe. Prof. Paar’s group is internationally renowned
for their work in securing and analysing embedded security systems. Ruhr University Bochum has
the most comprehensive offerings in IT security education (Bachelor, Master, distance learning) in

Further Information
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christof Paar, Communication Security Group, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and
Information Science, Ruhr University of Bochum, D-44780 Bochum, Germany
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +49 234 32 22994

Web links
More information about the KeeLoq attack:
Chair of Communication Security

· Registered
2,542 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Difference is, you can do this in a busy parking lot right under the eyes of a security guard and he'd be none the wiser. Plus, no traces, so victims will probably have fun explaining how their laptop disappeared to the insurance.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.