Are Keyless Ignitions Making Our Cars Easier to Steal?
21 Septembre 2015 - Autoblog
Keyless ignitions have penetrated the automotive market in the past few years and can now be found in everything from economy cars to luxury SUVs. They are convenient for vehicle owners but can bring a greater theft risk. Now, devices to defeat these systems are becoming cheaper.
Keyed-ignition vehicles are also vulnerable to theft but provide a deterrent that is enough to keep many professional thieves away. Traditional keyed ignition systems work by inserting a physical key into an ignition cylinder and rotating it to start the car. Modern vehicles with keyed ignition systems provide another layer of security by utilizing immobilizer systems that look for a unique RFID chip before allowing a vehicle to be started. Keyless-ignition vehicles work in a similar manner, but instead allow the vehicle to be started by pressing a button on the dash. Many of the keyless systems use the same type of RFID chips to authenticate the key and allow the vehicle to be started.
These RFID chips can be defeated by devices that plug into the onboard diagnostic (OBD) port and reprogram the immobilizer module. Keyed ignition systems are safer in these cases, as they provide an additional layer of security when these modules are reprogrammed. In most cases, the procedure to reprogram the module requires the physical key to be present and turned multiple times during the programming sequence. This will deter many thieves, as they would be required to bring an exact copy of the key or a new ignition cylinder with them and tear up the dashboard of the car to install it, which could take a significant amount of time.