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Kiel (ots) - The scope of digital crime is truly frightening. At the touch of a button, criminals can quickly and inconspicuously gain access to commercial vehicles or camper vans, virtually at will and without a trace. Nearly 5 million vehicles worldwide are affected by this security breach.
Retrofittable locking systems - made especially for the affected vehicle types - offer protection against these so-called "replay attacks," and are manufactured and distributed by Thitronik in Germany.
All a thief would need to gain untraceable access is a laptop and a wireless interface, which can be obtained online perfectly legally. In addition, these devices can be used without any particular expertise, meaning that virtually anyone can carry out a replay attack of their own and steal valuables out of a vehicle without leaving behind even a shred of evidence. In cases like these, the vehicle owner is usually not entitled to benefits from an insurance claim.
For the attack itself, a criminal only needs to record the "open" signal of the car key transmitter with a wireless receiver. If the criminal sends the same signal at a later time, the vehicle opens immediately, without any trouble at all. As such, the formula for unauthorized access to camper vans and commercial vehicles based on the Fiat Ducato (produced from 2006), or identically constructed models from the PSA group (which includes Citroen and Peugeot) is just that simple; the times when burglars would approach their targets armed with crowbars, screwdrivers or other heavy tools are long gone.
This problem, which was discovered by Thitronik, also differs significantly from previous security flaws with car keys, in that these codes could previously only be broken with considerable computational power and a great deal of effort.
The potential cost of replay attacks is especially substantial in the trade sector. Commercial vehicles often carry expensive equipment and devices, and thus constitute a popular target for thieves. While the monetary damages are not necessarily lower for camper vans, the emotional ordeal is often the most difficult part.