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Smart Alarm Systems Expose 3 Million Cars to Hackers

Smart Alarm Systems Expose 3 Million Cars to Hackers

Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 - 07:00
Smart alarm systems for cars had major security flaws that allowed potential hackers to track the vehicles. (Reuters)
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Smart alarm systems for cars had major security flaws that allowed potential hackers to track the vehicles, unlock their doors and, in some cases, cut off the engine.

Security researchers from Pen Test Partners said the vulnerabilities found in two popular smart alarm systems, could be exploited with two simple steps, the German news agency reported.

According to the CNET.com website, the problems were found in alarm systems made by Viper and Pandora Car Alarm System, two of the largest smart car alarm makers in the world.

The two brands have as many as three million customers between them and make high-end devices that can cost thousands.

Smart car alarms offer people convenience, allowing owners to find their cars from a distance and unlock their doors from their phones.

Pen Test Partners said it reached out to Viper and Pandora in late February and the companies fixed the security issues in less than a week. They had discovered the flaws last October.

In a statement from Directed Electronics, which owns Viper, the company said it did not believe the vulnerability was used maliciously.

"We immediately worked with our service provider to diagnose and correct this security issue. After investigation, we concluded that this vulnerability was an unintentional result of a recent system update made by our service provider," the company said in a statement.

Ken Munro, founder of Pen Test Partners, figured out that his team did not need to hack the smart alarm itself because the Pandora app left a large opening. The researcher found a similar problem with Viper's app.

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