You may want to be wary every time you see no effect after pressing your wireless remote control because a hacker’s RollJam is a danger to your car and garage at the second press. Well known hacker and independent researcher, Samy Kamkar, has just brought fear into the hearts of many car owners by showing a simple, foolproof method of breaking into their garage and stealing their cars.
The well-named RollJam device, which can be made for only $32, can effectively steal hundreds of thousands of dollars worth vehicles without a trace and without any sort of forceful entry. Any car owner with a wireless remote, which is the case for most modern models, for both their beloved vehicles and their garages are at risk.
Kamkar has proven that a simple contraption of radios, a microcontroller and a battery can be enough for car thieves to smoothly and subtly make away with their prize. The RollJam device works on the two frequencies most vehicles use, as when there’s a wireless connection, there’s a specific code or key that can be hacked into.
Previous models installed “rolling codes” a long time ago, meaning that each time you press the wireless remote for your garage or your car, a new authentication key will be sending the signal each time. The constantly changing numbers have held back hackers from gaining the code through similar means as the RollJam, because once used by yourself, no thief could use it again.
However, the beauty of the RollJam is in its ability to… well, jam. Kamkar has demonstrated the deviously clever method of bypassing security measures and hacking into “rolling codes”. How it works is that when a car own presses the button to open the door, a simple radio interference on the same frequency will stop the signal from reaching the garage or car.
Naturally, the person will press the button a second time, the door will open and the first failed attempt has already been put out of their mind. But by then, the car owner might be faced with another issue, such as their vehicle being gone in the next few hours or a couple of days.
The RollJam stops the signal from the first button press and records the code sent to the garage. When the car owner presses the second time, the signal is jammed again, storing the second code while forwarding the first, so the car owner will get the door effectively open. That way, the hacker is unknowingly left with the latest, unused code stored to be used whenever they wish.
The car owner will never know that the first code has actually been sent, but simply jammed and stored by the malicious device. It has been proven to work on high end brands such as Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Cadillac, Volkswagen and even Chrysler vehicles.
Kamkar plans on presenting his findings at DefCon in Las Vegas, detailing the gadget in order for carmakers to provide proper security for their vehicles.
Image source: komando.com