Three Million Vehicles Vulnerable After Security Flaw Found in Car Alarms

Three Million Vehicles Vulnerable After Security Flaw Found in Car Alarms

Vulnerabilities found in two different car alarms left three million vehicles susceptible to hijack globally.

Security researchers have found that two popular car alarms have fixed security vulnerabilities that allowed them to remotely track, hijack and take control of vehicles with the alarms installed.

The systems, built by Russian alarm maker Pandora and California-based Viper (or Clifford in the U.K.), were vulnerable to an easily manipulated server-side API, according to researchers at Pen Test Partners, a U.K. cybersecurity company.

Their findings showed that the API could be abused to take control of an alarms system's user account and the vehicle itself. The vulnerable alarms could be tricked into resetting an account password because the API was failing to check if it was an authorized request, allowing the researchers to log in. 

The researchers also found they could listen in on the in-car microphone, built-in as part of the Pandora system for making calls to the emergency services or roadside assistance.

Although the researchers bought alarms to test, they said "anyone" could create a user account to access any genuine account or extract all the companies' user data.

According to Pen Test Partners, some three million cars globally were vulnerable to these flaws, which have since been fixed.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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