NCC warns about car hackers and lists ways to stop them

In a statement, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director Public Affairs, stated that the Nigerian Communications Commission has a cyber-vulnerability system which allows hackers to steal vehicles, open their engines wirelessly, and unlock them.

According to the most recent advisory issued by the Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT), the cybersecurity centre for the telecom sector established by the NCC, the vulnerability is a Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attack or, more specifically, a replay attack in which an attacker intercepts the RF signals normally sent from a remote key fob to the car, manipulates these signals, and re-sends them later to unlock the car at will.

The Commission was alerted to this danger by the Commission because car remotes are short-range devices that use radiofrequency to lock and unlock cars.

This latest cyber-attack allows you to manipulate captured commands and retransmit them to get a completely different result.

NCC warns against car hackers
NCC warns car hackers (PHOTO by Wardsauto)

“Multiple researchers disclosed a vulnerability, which is said to be used by a nearby attacker to unlock some Honda and Acura car models and start their engines wirelessly. The attack consists of a threat actor capturing the radio frequency (RF) signals sent from your key fob to the car and resending these signals to take control of your car’s remote keyless entry system,” the advisory stated.

How to stop hackers

NCC warns about car hackers

In the advisory, the NCC-CSIRT has provided some solutions or precautionary measures that car owners can adopt to avoid being a victim of the attack.

The only way to mitigate the damage is to have your key fob reset at the dealership. Besides, the affected car manufacturer may provide a security mechanism that generates fresh codes for each authentication request, this makes it difficult for an attacker to ‘replay’ the codes thereafter. Additionally, vulnerable car users should store their key fobs in signal-blocking ’ Faraday pouches’ when not in use.

Importantly, car owners who fall into the above categories are encouraged to make a choice Passive Keyless Entry (PKE) versus Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), which makes it more difficult for attackers to read the signal, as criminals would need be in close proximity to execute their evil acts.

PKE, an automotive security system, operates when the user is within close proximity of the vehicle. It unlocks the door when approached or the handle is pulled. The door also locks when the user leaves the car or touches it on exit.

The RKE system, on the other hand, represents the standard solution for conveniently locking and unlocking a vehicle’s doors and luggage compartment by remote control.

The NCC issued a related advisory based on another detection made by CSIRT. It stated that there was a resurgence Joker Trojan Infected Android Apps on Google Play Store. This was caused by criminals who downloaded legitimate apps from Play Store, modified them by embedding Trojan malware, and then uploaded the app back to Play Store with a different name.

Uninstall these eight apps with Joker malware immediately! | NewsBytes

The malicious payload is only activated once the app goes live on the Play Store, which enables the app to scale through Google’s strict evaluation process. Once installed, these apps ask permissions which, once granted, allow the apps access to crucial functions such as notifications and text messaging.

Unwitting users can subscribe to premium services through a compromised device, which will bill them for services that don’t exist. This device can be used to commit SMS fraud, even though the owner is not aware.

It can click on online ads and use SMS One Time Passwords (OTPs), to approve secret payments. The user won’t be able to see the bank statements and will not know that they have subscribed online. It is also possible to steal data from other devices, including contacts, text messages, and device data.

Android users are advised not to download unnecessary apps or install apps from unofficial sources to avoid being manipulated by hackers who have infected Android apps with Joker Trojan-Infected Joker Trojans. NCC advises telecom consumers to carefully review and assess any downloaded apps from Google Play Store. They should also read the terms of usage and grant only the required permissions.

NCC recommends that all unauthorized transactions are checked against any installed apps. It is recommended that any app not being used be deleted. Users are also advised to make sure their devices are always updated and patched.

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