Photo by Sean Davis/Flickr

Simple hack unlocks 100 million Volkswagen vehicles

You may not want to leave your car alone.


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Published Aug 10, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 7:04 am CDT

Some 100 million Volkswagens are vulnerable to hackers who discovered key vulnerabilities that allow them to unlock the doors of the most popular cars on earth, according to a new research paper first reported by Wired.

University of Birmingham computer scientist Flavio Garcia was already widely known for working with colleagues to find major security flaws in  Volkswagens last year that enabled hackers to quickly takeover a keyless car.

The new attack could result in the theft of anything kept in a car.

When you put the two attacks together, you have a recipe for getting into and driving off with a stolen car in less than 60 seconds—Nic Cage-caliber grand theft auto.

Actually, you don’t need to be as good as Nic Cage at all. A thief can pull this off with cheap equipment like a TI Chronos smart watch. 

“The attacks are … highly scalable and could be potentially carried out by an unskilled adversary,” the research claims. “Since they are executed solely via the wireless interface, with a t least the range of the original remote control (i.e. a few tens of meters), and leave no physical trace, they pose a severe threat in practice.”

VW was told about the issues in 2015 and many car manufactures are using more secure chips of late.

Your Audi A1, however, is in trouble.

Read the entire research paper here.

H/T Wired

Share this article
*First Published: Aug 10, 2016, 6:42 pm CDT