Vehicle Security Flaw
Criminals are exploiting a security flaw in many late model vehicles. Highlighted on Watchdog, the BMW keyless door entry system has been found to have serious vulnerabilities resulting in a surge of thefts of high end vehicles, BMW insist that the issue is industry wide and not restricted to BMW vehicles.
The problem is with keyless entry models; these vehicles have no physical key and instead use a wireless key fob. Very convenient and so trendy, but it seems nowhere near as secure as a “real” coded chipped key.
These vehicles have an on board diagnostics port, in the case of the BMW it is located on the driver’s side. This on board diagnostics (OBD) port allows for a diagnostic device to be plugged in to download and obtain data from the on board computer about the vehicle and any problems it may have. The OBD has a constant supply of power and does not need the ignition switched on.
Unfortunately a European requirement means that these OBD systems do not require a password to read data, this is to allow non-franchised motor trade personnel access to digital diagnostic information. So anyone with a little knowledge, or anyone who can use the internet and find the required knowledge, can access the OBD system of these very expensive, high end vehicles!
The other problem, with BMW’s in particular, is the location of the OBD port, it is on the driver’s side – exactly where there is a blind spot in the ultrasonic sensor system – and within easy reach so the thief doesn’t even need to enter the vehicle! No sensor for glass breakage means the thief has plenty of time to plug in, access the unique digital ID, clone the key using a blank key fob and simply drive away.