Hacker Samy Kamkar has created a clever system for capturing and playing back the radio signals that can open your garage door and car. It costs $30 and could spell the end of the laughably insecure systems now in place that protect our rakes and Land Rovers.
The project, called the Rolljam, blocks the signal coming from a remote key fob and then prepares itself to record the signal when the user presses the button a second time. Why? Because manufacturers have created something called “rolling codes” that are transmitted each time a remote is pressed.
If the codes aren’t sent in the right order the device won’t unlock, but by blocking a signal and grabbing the next one there is always a fresh code. Car manufacturers have implemented some systems to prevent this sort of thing, but many cars on the market are vulnerable.
From the talk description:
Does this mean you should go out and buy a new car? Probably not. Now that the technology is readily accessible, I suspect manufacturers will try their damnedest to get workarounds and improvements onto the market in order to prevent the inevitable class-action lawsuits that will result.
However, don’t expect your old garage door opener to support a software upgrade. In other words, you’d better lock up your bike and snowblower.