Dangerous Smart Key

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by hpoehrli, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. hpoehrli

    hpoehrli Junior Member

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    Good day
    I don't want to scare you, but those who like the smartkey with keyless entry and engine start are advised to read this interesting paper. It is a scientific report, but easily understood:
    "Relay attacks on passive keyless entry and start systems in modern cars"
    by reserachers of the ETH (Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Switzerland). A professor got a new car with a smartkey and ask his researchers to try and break in. They actually drove away...

    htetepee://eprint.iacr.org/2010/332.pdf

    There is also a list of susceptible cars:

    htetepee://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_key

    What might be a possible conclusion?
    - Using the smartkey is rather problematic, not only for a breakin, but also for drive away.
    - For the smartkey operation the car transmits a signal to detect the smartkey. The energy used by that empties a good battery in about 20 days. With this feature disabled the battery should keep for almost 3 months. Check the switch under the stearing wheel, specially after the car has been to the service station.
    - And remember, the classic remote key with the pushbuttons can also be recorded fairly easily, eg. at a gas station. Usually the same button alternatively locks and unlocks the door. Locking it will so give the unlock-code away (is the same). My 2008 Prius has separate buttons on the remote key. So locking the door will not give the unlock code away (unless you check the locking by unlocking and locking again...)
    - According to the info in the above wikipedia reference the Prius uses several different antennas to check where the smart key is when operated. According to this information the doors in the Prius can only become unlocked if the smartkey is OUTSIDE of the car, and the engine unlocking can only be performed when the smartkey is INSIDE of the car. Again the Toyota engineers...

    I hope your Prius will only be opened and used by authorised people!
    Hanspeter
     
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  2. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    1) Old news. We have been discussing theoretical attacks on keyless systems for a few years. The proposed methods are simply not practical for the system used on the Prius. It's much easier to haul it off on a flat bed truck.

    2) The SKS turns itself off after a few days, so it won't drain a good battery. With the Gen II you can hit the disable button as you suggest, but it's not really necessary. The Gen III lacks the SKS disable button.

    Tom
     
  3. Politburo

    Politburo Active Member

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    I've never seen a fob where the unlock and lock buttons were shared.

    Anyway, this is seemingly legit. Although the abstract claims it is practical, I do not know about that.

    Basically what it does is put a relay between the key and the car, so that the 3 foot limit is essentially removed. So what someone could theoretically do is follow you around with a transceiver, have another transceiver at the car, hit the door handle, and the signal would go through the relay, hit the key in your pocket, go back through the relay, and the doors unlock.
     
  4. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    This is different from our earlier discussions about rolling codes and such. The relay technique discussed essentially makes it appear to the car as if the keyfob is closer to it than it is in reality. Two pieces of radio equipment are involved, one within normal keyfob detection range of the car (about 3 feet), and another near the keyfob (say, next to you inside a store). When the car sends out its "are you there" message, the radio equipment relays the signal to its peer near the real keyfob, and the keyfob responds. If the keyfob is in normal button press range, then that is all that is required. If further away, then an additional radio relay is require to send the real keyfob signal back within range of the car.

    Sounds plausible. One of the pictures in the article looks like a Gen2 SKS door handle, although the car interior is not a Prius.

    The defense against this sort of attack is accurate distance measurement between the keyfob and the car. The article reports that the systems that they tested did not provide this level of security.
     
  5. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    Happens all the time in chicago. Cops Nab Car Thieves Who Used Tow Trucks - cbs2chicago.com
     
  6. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Thousands die every day from drugs / robbery / rape / suicide / burglary / arson / DUI / neglect / negligence ... on and on. I duno ... we might want to worry about the elephants in the room, before we panic about the fleas. And now . . . back to other things, like beating the EPA:

    [​IMG]

    carry on
    :p

    .
     
  7. pviebey

    pviebey New Member

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    Big market in stolen Prius?

    Yeah, the easiest thing is just to use a towtruck.

    If you're really worried, you could LoJack the vehicle...

    But I'll just keep my insurance current...
     
  8. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

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    A high end Lexus with the same system would probably be a better target. But a lot easier to develop and test the devices on a Prius since they're so popular.

    I think there's a market opportunity here for SKS disable switches for the Gen3.
     
  9. Stev0

    Stev0 Honorary Hong Kong Cavalier

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    If somebody got a hold of your key for just a few seconds, they could make an impression of it then make a copy of it and drive off in your Pinto.

    I hope your Pinto will only be opened and used by authorized people!
     
  10. Rokeby

    Rokeby Member

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    Well, OK, the Prius SKS system can be worked around/defeated with
    some advanced electronic equipment. Interesting but hardly shocking.

    I'm not of a mind to get particularly excited about it.

    Every day there are more Prii on the road. Every day the probability of
    my Prius being the one stolen goes down.

    I'm more concerned about the far more likely random sociopath who
    for no good reasons decides to take a low-tech tire iron to all the
    windows and bodywork on the cars parked in my block on my side of the
    street.

    I'll gladly volunteer to do a multi-million dollar study on this...
    on a street across town of course. :D
     
  11. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    no way!!!:eek:
     
  12. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    hill must have found 400 miles of all downhill driving... :D
     
  13. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    Actually, lojack doesn't help much either since most experienced thieves can remove the system rather quickly. It's more effective if installed properly, but when most installers only really take 15 minutes to do the installation, you can't expect that it gets done with too much complexity.
     
  14. qbee42

    qbee42 My other car is a boat

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    This comment hits on the heart of most keys, locks, and security systems. Typically they only work to keep honest people honest. A serious professional thief can work around or disable most common systems.

    It's not that you can't design secure systems, but laziness and human factors keep most of them from being used. People expect to jump in their cars and drive off, not wait two hours for a background check.

    Unless a person is willing to live with the inconvenience and discipline of high security, about the best you can do is make your possessions less attractive than those around them. If your car is locked with an alarm, and the one next door is open with the keys inside, most thieves won't bother with yours. It's the old "You can't outrun a bear...No, but I can outrun you" line.

    Tom
     
  15. a_gray_prius

    a_gray_prius Rare Non-Old-Blowhard Priuschat Member

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    I semi-recently heard a story about a guy who basically chained his car (including the frame) to the cement floor (I don't know the specifics) of his garage (on top of his other security measures) and dared the thieves to steal it on Honda-tech. I was told it got stolen within a few weeks.
     
  16. Prius Prime

    Prius Prime Junior Member

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    The main danger of the Smart Key is when you think you have it in your pocket and you don't and you just about rip your fingers off trying to open the door.

    :eek:
     
  17. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    The only way you can lock a properly working SKS in the Prius is to:

    1) Roll down driver's window
    2) Leave SKS in car
    3) Reach in window & hit door lock button
    4) Reach in window & hit auto-rolllup driver's window
    5) quickly remove arm

    There! ... now ... do you want the sequence to unlock?
    :p
     
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  18. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    Ignoring the fleas, is what led to the Black Plague.
     
  19. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    ok ... strike fleas ... replace with gnats

    I must admit that there CERTAINLY is ONE SKS that is dangerous ... especially if you're breaking into steal, and the home owner uses it for home defense:

    [​IMG]

    . . . . . especially if the have the optional grenade launcher.

    ;)
     
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  20. s3nfo

    s3nfo Member

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    Cars with SKS can be stolen....Oh no what will I do, what will I do! Guess I'll just have to drive older cars with regular key fobs. Wait, those can be easily cloned and someone could steal my car....... Oh no what will I do, what will I do! Guess I'll just have to get an even older car with key in the door hole locks. Wait, those can be opened with a slim jim, or even a coat hangar and someone could steal my car......Oh no what will I do, what will I do.
    Guess I'll just keep paying my insurance premiums.
     
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