Hackers successful in unlocking Honda cars remotely

A team of security researchers discovered that several modern Honda cars have a weak rolling code mechanism that allows unlocking the cars or even starting the engine remotely.

It is called Rolling-PWN, the weakness enables replay attacks where a hacker intercepts the code from the keyfob to the car and uses it to unlock or start the car.

According to the Bleeping Computer, the researchers claim to have tested the attack on Honda models between 2021 and 2022, including the popular models below:

  • Honda Civic 2012
  • Honda X-RV 2018
  • Honda C-RV 2020
  • Honda Accord 2020
  • Honda Odyssey 2020
  • Honda Inspire 2021
  • Honda Fit 2022
  • Honda Civic 2022
  • Honda VE-1 2022
  • Honda Breeze 2022

The keyless entry system in modern cars relies on rolling codes produced by a pseudorandom number generator (PRNG) algorithm, ensuring that unique strings are used each time the keyfob button is pressed.

“Vehicles have a counter that checks the chronology of the generated codes, increasing the count upon receiving a new code. Non-chronological codes are accepted, though, to cover situations of accidental presses of the keyfob, or when the vehicle is out of range,” a source as per Bleeping Computer.

Researchers Kevin2600 and Wesley Li discovered that the counter in Honda vehicles is resynchronized when the car vehicle gets lock/unlock commands in a consecutive sequence. It causes the car to accept codes from a previous session, which should have been invalidated.

An attacker equipped with software-defined radio (SDR) equipment can capture a consecutive sequence of codes and replay them at a later time to unlock the vehicle and starts its engine.


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