Tech Blogger Says He Watched As Youths Wirelessly Broke Into His Car

Illustration for article titled Tech Blogger Says He Watched As Youths Wirelessly Broke Into His Car

The New York Times’ resident tech dunderhead and style blogger Nick Bilton recently watched as a couple of rowdy youths hacked his car. It’s possible this guy inadvertently stumbled onto a good story.


Here are the key details, as he tweeted himself.

Bilton commented further stating that his car is a Toyota Prius, that he chased down the kids with the intent of asking them what device they were using, and that he came up empty handed.

It’s not clear exactly what the kids were using to break into his car, but we have a pretty good idea. After all, this is far from the first time this has happened. Back in 2011, we saw a research team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology use antennas to amplify signals bouncing between a key fob and a car to unlock the vehicle on their own.

In 2013, we saw a string of break-ins from electronic devices physically pressed against new car doors. We believe those were just RF transmitters cycling through remote-entry codes.


It was last year at a Blackhat conference that one hacker made the news showing how a thousand dollars of radio equipment could do the same job. Basically, he picked up the frequency of a nearby fob and then he himself transmitted codes like the fob’s to the car. His setup was reasonably expensive and not exactly wieldy, being attached to a laptop.


Bilton claims that what the kid hackers used to get into his car costs about a hundred bucks. Anyone out there got a link?


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Bob Sorokanich

I particularly like how his proposed solution is to buy a car whose entire security system can be defeated by a slim-jim.