Flaws in Smart Alarms Exposed Millions of Cars to Dangerous Hacking

March 11, 2019

Serious vulnerabilities found in high-end car alarms could have been exploited to remotely hack millions of vehicles, including to track them, immobilize them and spy on their owners.

Researchers at UK-based penetration testing and cybersecurity firm Pen Test Partners have analyzed smart alarm systems from Pandora and Viper (known in the UK as Clifford), which are estimated to have been installed on roughly 3 million vehicles around the world. These alarms are designed to prevent relay attacks, which have often been used to steal luxury vehicles, and they allow owners to track their vehicle’s location, remotely start and stop the engine, and lock and unlock their doors via a mobile application.

These car alarms are advertised as being highly secure and, before this research was conducted, Pandora even claimed its products were “unhackable.”

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