Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


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
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 side-channel 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 Germany.

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, E-Mail:, Phone: +49 234 32 22994

Web links

More information about the KeeLoq attack
Chair of Communication Security of Prof. Christof Paar
Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security

Dr. Josef König | idw
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>