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Key Fob cloning

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  • Key Fob cloning

    Are there safeguards in place to keep key fobs from being cloned by nasty people?
    Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
    Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP

  • #2
    In previous generations, and I assume in this one, the fobs have to be programmed in the specific car using the physical key, and optionally, a working fob. So someone would need your fob’s key, a “blank” fob and ten minutes in your car. Certainly possible, but unlikely. If I recall correctly, the physical key must be inserted in the lock hidden above the license plate on the C7, so you can remove the key when handing the fob over to, for instance, a parking attendant.

    Of course if someone has your fob and your car, there is no need to clone a second fob. They can simply drive the car away.
    Last edited by CaryBob; 12-03-2019, 11:10 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CaryBob View Post
      In previous generations, and I assume in this one, the fobs have to be programmed in the specific car using the physical key, and optionally, a working fob. So someone would need your fob’s key, a “blank” fob and ten minutes in your car. Certainly possible, but unlikely. If I recall correctly, the physical key must be inserted in the lock hidden above the license plate on the C7, so you can remove the key when handing the fob over to, for instance, a parking attendant.

      Of course if someone has your fob and your car, there is no need to clone a second fob. They can simply drive the car away.
      That's not how cloning works. Thieves intercept the radio transmission between the fob and car, and record it. Then they can walk up to your car and play back the recording. The car has no way to know it's not your fob.

      Garage door openers solved this decades ago with rolling code transmitters. I don't know why the same technology hasn't been applied to the key fobs.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_code

      This article implies they are, but I'm not sure that's the case, or cloning wouldn't work.
      SunKissed, my 2015 2LT, 7MT, Black over Daytona Sunrise Orange Metallic, Stingray convertible (One of about 40)

      Purchased 5/2/2015,
      >35,000+ miles

      Proud member of the Old Dominion Corvette Club. Check us out http://www.olddominioncorvetteclub.org

      Never grow up - It's a trap.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by meyerweb View Post

        This article implies they are, but I'm not sure that's the case, or cloning wouldn't work.
        They do use rolling codes as per my manual, but if they clone your fob, I don't see how rolling codes makes any difference. Heck, I don't even understand how the process works anyway. The thieves fob and yours are identical in every way if I understand it correctly from the news piece I heard on TV. Apparently with the push button starts in many cars these days the amount of vehicle thefts is on the rise.
        Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
        Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP

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        • #5
          Isn’t it much simpler to just boost the signal from the owners fob? Then you don’t need a cloned fob to unlock and start the car. As long as you don’t turn it off, you are home free.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by CaryBob View Post
            Isn’t it much simpler to just boost the signal from the owners fob? Then you don’t need a cloned fob to unlock and start the car. As long as you don’t turn it off, you are home free.
            I believe the car shuts off when it loses contact with the fob for a period of time.
            Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
            Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP

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            • #7
              If a thief want the car...it gets taken or towed.

              Thats why we have insurance...

              it stinks but thats the deal.
              Torch Red exterior/ black interior z51 FE4 2LT or 1LT depending on when i get the call..Ill flip a coin at that moment..same for E60

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Murray20c8 View Post

                They do use rolling codes as per my manual, but if they clone your fob, I don't see how rolling codes makes any difference. Heck, I don't even understand how the process works anyway. The thieves fob and yours are identical in every way if I understand it correctly from the news piece I heard on TV. Apparently with the push button starts in many cars these days the amount of vehicle thefts is on the rise.
                This is an oversimplification but basically the fob generates a number which it sends to your car. If the number matches what your car is expecting, it unlocks your car. If thieves record that number from the fob it does no good because both your car and the key fob, increment to a number to use next time. This is called a pseudorandom sequence. The thieves would have to know what number is coming up next in order to hack your car. The numbers are usually 256 bits so bruit forcing a sequence of numbers would take years.
                TPW 2-Mar

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                • #9
                  So, I guess that's why a "Man in the Middle" attack to clone the fob is really the only way. Someone follows you to the grocery store and sits in the parking lot and records the sequence as you lock and/or unlock your car. He has therefore cloned your fob and is aware of the next number / sequence. If recording the signal as the the car is locked is all that's needed then you will find your car gone when you exit the grocery store.
                  Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
                  Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP

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                  • #10
                    No, he doesn’t have the next number unless he also has the algorithm that produces the next number. Knowing the last number, or even the last several numbers, doesn’t help you determine the next number because the algorithm uses each number to generate the next and unless you have the algorithm you can’t determine the next number. That’s what LightningBolt was explaining, or at least that’s how I interpret his comment.

                    i doubt that the car shuts off when out of reach of the fob for a time. Shutting down at 75 on the interstate doesn’t seem like a smart design. I once drove my C7 nearly 30 miles without the fob, but luckily saw the “no fob detected” message when I tried to turn it off, so managed to return home and retrieve the fob.

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                    • #11
                      GM’s security system for our Corvettes randomly selects among 4,000,000 numbers for the next sequence. Going to be hard to “catch” the right one. Also I saw on national news (major channel) that if you click your fob quickly three times in succession when you walk away from your car, that so far the bad guys haven’t been able to catch your code.

                      It is an urban legend? Don’t know but know when in doubt as to where I am, I click if that way as I shut it down.

                      Additionally, the C8 waited its reveal while the new, next step and hardened Digital Vehicle Platform was implemented, with its better anti-hacking capabilities. Hopefully GM is now ahead of the bad people on our C8’s.
                      GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5ZZ high wing; 5VM vis CF ground effects pkg; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards. Separately getting from my dealer RCC Edge Red engine cover, 5JR vis CF mirror caps, and VJR illuminated sill plates.

                      Lifetime, annual contributors, and 20+ year members of National Corvette Museum.

                      Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CaryBob View Post
                        No, he doesn’t have the next number unless he also has the algorithm that produces the next number. Knowing the last number, or even the last several numbers, doesn’t help you determine the next number because the algorithm uses each number to generate the next and unless you have the algorithm you can’t determine the next number. That’s what LightningBolt was explaining, or at least that’s how I interpret his comment.

                        i doubt that the car shuts off when out of reach of the fob for a time. Shutting down at 75 on the interstate doesn’t seem like a smart design. I once drove my C7 nearly 30 miles without the fob, but luckily saw the “no fob detected” message when I tried to turn it off, so managed to return home and retrieve the fob.
                        That makes sense, thanks. Makes me feel a little better.
                        My friend with a 2017 Camaro told me that. He (or I) could be wrong.
                        Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
                        Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CaryBob View Post

                          i doubt that the car shuts off when out of reach of the fob for a time. Shutting down at 75 on the interstate doesn’t seem like a smart design. I once drove my C7 nearly 30 miles without the fob, but luckily saw the “no fob detected” message when I tried to turn it off, so managed to return home and retrieve the fob.
                          I was looking through the 2019 Camaro handbook and found this. "The vehicle is automatically immobilized when the transmitter leaves the vehicle." Perhaps that is where he got the idea. It doesn't say exactly that it will immobilize the car if it's in motion though.
                          Murray - Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada
                          Torch red coupe, Adrenaline red 2LT Q8Q E60 NPP

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                          • #14
                            The C7 displays a message if you try to turn off the engine with no fob detected. It gives you the choice of turning it off or continuing to operate by pressing the brake pedal.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John View Post
                              Additionally, the C8 waited its reveal while the new, next step and hardened Digital Vehicle Platform was implemented, with its better anti-hacking capabilities. Hopefully GM is now ahead of the bad people on our C8’s.
                              Companies routinely hire “Pen Testers” penetration testers also known as white hat hackers to identify potential security flaws in their systems. Tesla went so far as to host a hack-a-thon and offered up a free model 3 to the first team that hacked their car.

                              TPW 2-Mar

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