Hacker devises cheap gadget to open cars and homes, making you Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt.
In Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation Tom Cruise character Ethan Hunt is using a small matchbox-sized gadget to open any door. This is not science fiction. The similar sized $32 RollJam gadget opens cars and homes that use wireless locks. Ethan Hunt's door opener also works on mechanical doors, but sure costs more than $32 if it would exist.
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A hacker named Samy Kamkar presented the RollJam the DefCon last weekend. The device can open cars and garage doors that use rolling codes. Rolling codes are supposed to be safe, but Kamkar found a genius way to outsmart these remote control systems.
RollJam blocks the signal with a pair of cheap radios that send out noise on the two common frequencies used by cars and garage door openers when a victim presses his remote. At the same time, the RollJam uses a third radio to record the victim's wireless code.
When that first signal is jammed and fails to unlock the door, the victim usually tries pressing the button again. On that second press, the RollJam is programmed to again jam the signal and record that second code, but also to simultaneously broadcast its first code. That replayed first code unlocks the door, and the user immediately forgets about the failed key press. But the RollJam has now stored second code that can be used to open the car anytime a hacker wants too - genius!
“You think everything worked on the second time, and you drive home,” says Samy Kamkar in a Wired interview. “But I now have a second code, and I can use that to unlock your car.”
The RollJam has been tested on cars from Nissan, Cadillac, Ford, Toyota, Lotus, Volkswagen, and Chrysler vehicles, and more. It also is proven to work on Genie and Liftmaster garage door openers.
The method that RollJam uses has been known, but he managed to package the hack into a cheap easy to use device. Stealing cars has just become very easy, if this device would go to market.
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Kamkar calls on the industry to adopt two factor authentication which relies on codes that expire in seconds. Using rolling codes without an added code expiration measure no longer suffices to keep their products secure says Kamkar.