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Honda key fob hack
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Vehicle security warning: Own one of these cars and you’re at risk

When a manufacturer releases a defective product, it can volunteer to recall it. If the risk is significant enough, the government will step in and enforce it. Either way, the consumer may not know about the recall until later.

Regarding cars, problems with the mechanical parts, safety issues or software upgrades are the usual culprits. We compiled a list of the latest recalls affecting thousands of Fords, Nissans, Hyundais and Hondas. Tap or click here to see if your car is on the list and what you need to do about it.

No matter the fault, the line between cybercrime and the real world is becoming blurrier by the day. A technological trick is exposing Honda vehicles to criminals. The worst part is that the scheme is almost as old as some of the affected models, but luckily there is something you can do about it.

Here’s the backstory

When you park your car and walk away, how sure are you that the familiar beep from the vehicle indicates that it’s locked? You might hear the right sounds, but you’ll never know unless you go back to check.

In a research paper detailing how the Rolling-PWN attack works, the authors from Star-V Lab explain that the vulnerability has been known for some time. The research team tested 10 Honda vehicles ranging from 2012 to 2022 models, and guess what? All the tested vehicles failed.

Activating the key fob sends an electronic code to lock the car. The same code must be transmitted from the fob to unlock it. Each time you press the button, the rolling code system ensures that it increases the synchronizing counter. But criminals figured out a way to send the codes in a consecutive sequence, resynchronizing the counter.

“This weakness allows anyone to permanently open the car door or even start the car engine from a long distance,” researchers explained.

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Honda’s letting it go

This isn’t the first time that the problem has come to light. Two years ago, computer scientist Blake Berry and researcher Ayyappan Rajesh ran similar tests with the same results.

The pair tested 2016-2020 Honda Civic (LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Si, Type R) models, while the Star-V Lab team tested 2012-2022 Honda Civic, X-RV, C-RV, Accord, Odyssey, Inspire, Fit, VE-1 and Breeze models.

Bleeping Computer reached out to Honda in March, and the manufacturer said it wouldn’t correct the vulnerability. “At this time, it appears that the devices only appear to work within close proximity. Honda has no plan to update older vehicles at this time,” the carmaker said.

Here’s what you can do to protect your car

So, is there something that Honda owners can do? Well, not officially. The best advice is never to leave any valuables in your vehicle. This car hack can only unlock the door and (maybe) start it, but the original key fob must be close (usually within a few feet) to drive off with the car.

If you’re worried about your key fob signals getting hijacked, you can wrap it in foil. You can also try leaving your fob in the refrigerator or microwave when you’re not out driving. We know it sounds crazy, but these tricks work! Tap or click here to see how.

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