The lack of a physical deterrent in keyless-ignition cars has opened them up to vulnerabilities. We may be trading security for convenience.
In the wake of the heavily publicized fatal crash involving a Lexus ES 350 with keyless ignition in California, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is proposing standardizing keyless ignition systems. The government regulator wants all vehicles with keyless ignition to turn off after a button press of just half a second, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Five years ago, if you owned a vehicle with push button start, you probably owned a luxury vehicle or high-end sports car. For 2011, there are 189 vehicles with push start technology, including many vehicles that retail for less than $20,000. But while the technology has proliferated to nearly every vehicle segment, each automaker has its own keyless ignition mechanism.
According to WMGT Channel 41 of Georgia, automakers are facing increasing scrutiny regarding the safety of their keyless start systems. According to the NBC affiliate, there are at least three carbon-dioxide related deaths – one in New York, and a pair in Florida – that are being blamed on the technology.
Anything that emits a signal can be intercepted. Or extended. So with that simple fact in mind, researchers at ETH Zurich in Switzerland were able to imitate the signal coming from a car's key fob, allowing them to open the doors and drive away. And it wasn't just one model from one brand. The study included 10 different models from eight manufacturers.
At least they're not mocking men or making light of depressed robots. Nissan's latest marketing effort for the Altima has the auto company messing with patrons of entertainment venues. 200,000 sets of faux keys will be planted in clubs, bars, concert venues, and other congregation locations. The way the ruse works is that someone picks up the keys, and takes in a tidy little marketing message about the Altima's keyless ignition as they read the keychain. It's a great example of thinking outside
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