Researchers at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium and the University of Birmingham in the U.K. found new vulnerabilities in encryption systems used by in-vehicle devices that communicate at close range with key fobs to unlock the car's ignition.
Millions of Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia vehicles use Texas Instruments' DST80 encryption, which bases cryptographic keys on cars' serial numbers.
A hacker who swipes a Proxmark radio-frequency identification reader/transmitter near the fob of an auto equipped with DST80 can obtain sufficient data to acquire its secret cryptographic value, impersonate the key within the car, and start the engine.
The researchers said this cloning exploit is more difficult than "relay" attacks that car thieves typically use, but hackers can use the compromised information to repeatedly drive the targeted auto.
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