Feeds

Crypto boffins break car cypher

Gone in 24 hours

Boost IT visibility and business value

Cryptographic researchers have identified a practical attack against the KeeLoq car anti-theft cypher. KeeLoq serves as the cryptographic underpinning of several car anti-theft mechanisms distributed by Microchip Technology.

The technology is used in a wide variety of car remote controls from manufacturers including Chrysler, Daewoo, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar, Toyota, Volvo, and Volkswagen.

Each device has a unique key that has up to 18 billion billion combinations, though in practice a much lower key space is used. Nonetheless, the hardware-dedicated block cypher used in KeeLoq was thought to be secure.

But a team of security researchers from Belgium and Israel has developed a technique to identify the key in less than a day. The technique requires close proximity to an intended mark's key for about an hour, during which time the key is "probed". Data from this operation is then analysed for clues that allow the researchers to identify the unique key associated with a device.

Thereafter, a counterfeit remote control might be built. "Once we have found the key, we can deactivate the alarm and drive away with your car," the researchers claim.

It's probably wiser to worry about the likes of Chris the Crafty Cockney rather than carjacking cryptographers, of course. It's far easier to capture the code used by a target when he opens his car and then replay it, rather than getting into all this complicated code breaking stuff.

Nonetheless, the research underlines a previously unidentified avenue of attack against widely-used car anti-theft mechanisms, as well as showing that KeeLoq isn't as secure as people previously thought.

The research was the work of three groups from the computer science department of Technion in Israel, the research group COSIC of the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven in Belgium, and the maths department of the Hebrew University in Israel. A talk on the research (pdf slides here) was presented at the recent Crypto 2007 conference. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?