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Ivaylo Ivanov
Ivaylo Ivanov

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Stealing cars just has been made more accessible to the public!

You read right, after the release of the Quansheng Radio (similar radio to the Baofeng series), the process of car stealing just became easier and cheaper for the general public, eliminating the need for complex technology or deep knowledge on the topic.

Disclaimer this is only for educational purposes and does not encourage cyber crimes or illegal activities!

1. The cheap way and the problems with it

Recently, our team has been researching car key fob signals being blocked by everyday devices that use radio frequencies.
We discovered that this role is best suited by the popular ham radios such as Baofeng. Since the Baofeng radio has a wide range of frequencies, it can be used to scan for the key fob signal. After finding the correct frequency, the radio becomes the best way to suppress the lock signal to the car, by transmitting on the key fob frequency, thus making the car unlocked and accessible to anyone around. But as you may have already thought, finding the signal through scanning is going to take some time and make the attack longer as well as not so certain to happen, because it can take multiple scanning attempts to find the frequency. Also, the timing is very important, if you miss the key fob signal you are going to need to start the scanning again. Those are quite some problems for a pentester to be dealing with on the field.

2. The cheap and easier way

On the other hand, we have the recently released Quansheng radio. It fixes all the problems and makes the life of a pentester easier, because of its spectrumscope feature. It analyzes the frequencies around the radio in real-time, thus making the frequency discovery of the key fob almost instantaneous and being able to launch the attack on the first try. All of that can be achieved only for 30 - 40 dollars.
Quansheng Radio Spectrum Mode

3. Is it really that easy to achieve a car steal?

Short answer yes, but there are some special environmental factors that we have to take into account. For example, the chance of someone locking his car and not looking back or checking if it is locked is not very common. Many people at least look back to see the blinking lights of the car indicating that the car is locked.
Another thing that is going to be a setback is the way newer cars start, many of them need some type of NFC identification from the key fob in order to start, hot-wiring is going to work only on older models, that do not have that good of a security.

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