Fast, Furious and Insecure: Passive Keyless Entry and Start Systems in Modern Supercars

  • Lennert Wouters imec-COSIC, KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
  • Eduard Marin School of Computer Science, University of Birmingham, UK; imec-COSIC, KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
  • Tomer Ashur imec-COSIC, KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
  • Benedikt Gierlichs imec-COSIC, KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
  • Bart Preneel imec-COSIC, KU Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
Keywords: Passive Keyless Entry and Start, reverse engineering, Digital Signature Transponder

Abstract

The security of immobiliser and Remote Keyless Entry systems has been extensively studied over many years. Passive Keyless Entry and Start systems, which are currently deployed in luxury vehicles, have not received much attention besides relay attacks. In this work we fully reverse engineer a Passive Keyless Entry and Start system and perform a thorough analysis of its security.
Our research reveals several security weaknesses. Specifically, we document the use of an inadequate proprietary cipher using 40-bit keys, the lack of mutual authentication in the challenge-response protocol, no firmware readout protection features enabled and the absence of security partitioning.
In order to validate our findings, we implement a full proof of concept attack allowing us to clone a Tesla Model S key fob in a matter of seconds with low cost commercial off the shelf equipment. Our findings most likely apply to other manufacturers of luxury vehicles including McLaren, Karma and Triumph motorcycles as they all use the same system developed by Pektron.

Published
2019-05-09
How to Cite
Wouters, L., Marin, E., Ashur, T., Gierlichs, B., & Preneel, B. (2019). Fast, Furious and Insecure: Passive Keyless Entry and Start Systems in Modern Supercars. IACR Transactions on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems, 2019(3), 66-85. https://doi.org/10.13154/tches.v2019.i3.66-85
Section
Articles