What does it take to steal a car? This video now shows: a Nokia cell phone is enough!

The Nokia button cell phone used to be there to gamble on Snake.  Today, cars are cracked using the classic handset.

The Nokia button cell phone used to be there to gamble on Snake. Today, cars are cracked using the classic handset.

Is it possible to use old Nokia phones to hack into keyless cars and trick the immobilizer? A video released last week vividly demonstrates every car owner’s nightmare.

Some of you may find it difficult to trust keyless smart key systems after this – because: if a museum cell phone from Nokia from the year 2000 has what it takes to outsmart modern locking technology for cars, how can drivers still feel safe?

Form your own opinion – and click the following video. The approximately half-minute video was published on the Motherboard YouTube channel – the tech department of the lifestyle magazine Vice.

Link to YouTube content

What happens in the video can be summarized in three short steps:

  • Step 1: The start button of a Toyota is pressed several times in succession, but this has no effect; a red flashing LED signals to the car thief: You can not get in here!
  • Step 2: A Nokia 3310 is picked up: the cell phone bone is connected to the vehicle with a USB cable and then the button on the keypad is pressed once.
  • Step 3: After a short pause, the Nokia 3310 is held to the start button – and the same is pressed: Tada! The Toyota’s engine is already roaring – and without a key.

How difficult is it to hack into a car with a Nokia phone?

The Spiegel colleagues got in touch with Ken Tindell, an expert in automotive cybersecurity.

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What Tindel says is sobering. Because the necessary chip and the required cables are quickly soldered – and the installation of a USB socket on the Nokia 3310 is comparatively easy.

Irrespective of this, Nokia handsets prepared for the burglary change hands on the Dark Web for an amount between 3,500 and 4,000 euros.

What can car owners do?

According to Ken Tindell, the only viable option to take action against burglars with a Nokia cell phone is to cryptographically protect the car key in question. According to Tindell, this could happen with a corresponding update from the car manufacturer (Toyota in the example here).

Have you jumped out into the street or into your garage before you even finished reading this message? Has your car ever been broken into – and if so: what technique was used to break in? Write us about it in the comments.

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