quantium
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:20 pm

Key Cloning

Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:50 am

A recent programme on BBC TV called Watchdog highlighted security problems with thieves reprogramming blank keys and using them to steal high end cars. BMW, Landrover and Volkswagen were all highlighted. Owners of these vehicles were advised to install vehicle trackers and also use an old fashioned steering lock. We are awaiting delivery of an I3 and are concerned at this issue. Even if it is insured, insurance companies often do not pay the full cost of a replacement, and in any case the 6 month lead time is unlikely to get any shorter.

Is anyone on this list concerned as to this issue, and what steps have been taken to resolve it? The problem seems to be, as always, if something is perfectly secure it becomes impossible to use even by the righftul owner.

mindmachine
Posts: 501
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Ohio, USA

Re: Key Cloning

Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:21 pm

quantium wrote:A recent programme on BBC TV called Watchdog highlighted security problems with thieves reprogramming blank keys and using them to steal high end cars. BMW, Landrover and Volkswagen were all highlighted. Owners of these vehicles were advised to install vehicle trackers and also use an old fashioned steering lock. We are awaiting delivery of an I3 and are concerned at this issue. Even if it is insured, insurance companies often do not pay the full cost of a replacement, and in any case the 6 month lead time is unlikely to get any shorter.

Is anyone on this list concerned as to this issue, and what steps have been taken to resolve it? The problem seems to be, as always, if something is perfectly secure it becomes impossible to use even by the righftul owner.


Not really, it's been a problem and it is only getting worse with all cars, not just BMW cars.

ChristopherEmmanuel
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:02 am

Re: Key Cloning

Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:35 am

What we all must be careful of is car theifs here in the UK are holding transmitter/receiver amplifiers up to front doors of houses and bridging the gap from key to car and gaining access to the car, then driving the car away.
The immobiliser chip is also read at this stage and once the car is started it can be driven away without the key until switched off.
I tried this with my i3 and left the key with my friend drove for an hour and the car did not cut off.
Maybe BMW should build into the software a constant one minute re scan of the key to combat this.

CanisLupus
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:48 pm

Re: Key Cloning

Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:20 am

Would keeping your keys in a cookie tin help . It perhaps could act as what is called a 'Faraday Cage' hence blocking both the signals that trigger the key and those that the key would transmit in response . I don't know how one would test this . Maybe try bringing the tin , with the keys in it , to the car and try to open the car using the comfort access inside the door handle of the i3 , if you have that . Give that a go .

MikeS
Posts: 712
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:29 am
Location: Brighton UK

Re: Key Cloning

Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:09 am

Yes a tin with a lid works perfectly well and you can test it exactly as you surmised.
BMW 3 Series 2005 - Aug 2014
BMW Z4 35i 2009 - Mar 2014
BMW X1 Mar 14
BMW i3 Sep 14

i3an
Posts: 118
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2014 1:09 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Key Cloning

Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:26 am

Another scary hypothesis is that bad guys with scanners who happen to be nearby when you use the remote to lock/unlock the car can intercept and reproduce the signal, thus at least being able to unlock the car, but maybe not start it up and drive away. My i3 has been riffled through, and my wife's 328 has twice, but not stolen. Now I just use the near-field touch-handle system exclusively. So my guess is the key fob actually has three different signals: remote lock/unlock, nearby lock/unlock, and start up from inside the vehicle.

ChristopherEmmanuel
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:02 am

Re: Key Cloning

Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:59 am

I do think though that the transmitter has rolling code technology, this has been around for some years, but don't know if the code is repeated every 5 times or so, making life for a thief a little harder. I was surprised to find the i3 does not have an electronic steering lock though :roll:

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