Timjohn
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:37 am

Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:06 am

Lots of news about stolen cars that have remote entry and start...so the questions are what do we do?

1) Don't use your FOB control to lock the car in public places such as the mall, parking garages etc. Hit the lock button on the door to prevent the code being stolen from scanning devices.

2) Use a "faraday" wallet (available on Amazon for about $12 for two of them) to store your FOB when on your person or when stored at home. If you don't have one wrap it in Al-foil or place into a steel can with a steel top closed

3) If they break into the car and scan your OBD port, they can steal the codes and recode another FOB...unless BMW has some safe guards that others know about? Reposition the OBD (wishful thinking!) or place a lock on the OBD. I haven't found one yet so those who may know pass it on!

Any other suggestions?

eNate
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 12:19 pm

Paranoid much?

I don't want to live life like that.

Besides, who in their right mind would want to steal a bug-looking ugly little i3 that they don't have a charger for and nag you when you accelerate too quickly!
2 0 1 7   B M W   i 3   9 4 A h   B E V  O a k l a n d
 Wokeby Trunk Extension | Duosida 16A L1 EVSE
 SeaSucker Monkey Bar Roof Rack

alohart
Posts: 1857
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2014 7:36 pm
Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 1:57 pm

Timjohn wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:06 am
3) If they break into the car and scan your OBD port, they can steal the codes and recode another FOB...unless BMW has some safe guards that others know about?
Apparently, not even a BMW dealer can code an i3 FOB to work with a different i3. If an i3 owner needs a FOB, he/she must order it from BMW itself. An i3 FOB is built to work with only one i3. So I doubt that any information is available from the OBD port that would allow a random i3 FOB to be coded to work with a different i3.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:17 pm

It's my understanding that to program a fob, you must already have a working one, then it will recognize a new one, the first being the 'key' to allowing the programming. If you were to lose all available fobs, it's my understanding that you'd have to order the locking computer and fobs from the factory to replace what's there, as there's no way to program a new one without at least one working one.

I've replaced a lost fob on mine, and all it took was unlocking the car with the remaining one, moving that one far enough away so it wasn't interacting with the car, then holding the new fob up against the steering column and pressing start. It then 'knew' the new fob. I might have the sequence off a bit, it's been a couple of years since I did it. NOte, the dealer can remove a lost fob from the memory, but there has to be at least one left for things to work. I had them do that once I lost the original fob. Since the fob has a key, they could still have entered the car, but it wouldn't have started for them should they have located my vehicle with their found fob.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

Timjohn
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:37 am

Re: Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:04 pm

OK then that is very reassuring that its a little more difficult that what I have seen on YouTube. Apparently there has been a number of thefts in Toronto area with some GM and Toyota vehicles so W-five did a segment on the news regarding this.

Maybe since the i3 is so rare, its not a highly desirable vehicle.

vreihen
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:55 pm
Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:26 pm

Timjohn wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:06 am
2) Use a "faraday" wallet (available on Amazon for about $12 for two of them) to store your FOB when on your person or when stored at home.
Read the Amazon reviews carefully. There seems to be a recurring theme that those wallets shield good for a few months, and then something in the material breaks down and they become useless.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 15K miles

eNate
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Security of the i3

Mon Dec 09, 2019 5:29 pm

Timjohn wrote:
Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:04 pm
OK then that is very reassuring that its a little more difficult that what I have seen on YouTube. Apparently there has been a number of thefts in Toronto area with some GM and Toyota vehicles so W-five did a segment on the news regarding this.

Maybe since the i3 is so rare, its not a highly desirable vehicle.
I'm not suggesting it's not real. There's a spoof attack that records the code when you press the FOB button, jams the signal, then allows the thief to use the stored good code at a later time. This works on garage door openers, also. But there's also a relay attack that works on proximity, and re-transmits your FOBs code over long distances to a person standing near the vehicle. The equipment used to do this is supposed to be dead cheap.

I know BMW has begun addressing this using key fobs that don't pulse out a signal if they're sitting still on a counter, and there was talk of making the systems sensitive to signal timing, in effect nulling an unlock command if there was a few milliseconds delay in receiving a code. Whether the i3 specifically employs either of these defenses, I don't know.

But I also estimate I'm 100x more likely to suffer a smashed window. And even though I was half tongue in cheek, I'm confident my i3 isn't a desirable stolen car target.
2 0 1 7   B M W   i 3   9 4 A h   B E V  O a k l a n d
 Wokeby Trunk Extension | Duosida 16A L1 EVSE
 SeaSucker Monkey Bar Roof Rack

User avatar
MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 499
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: Security of the i3

Tue Dec 10, 2019 11:32 am

If there is a way to circumvent a car security design, someone will find it. New thing with GM trucks, is the thieves buy a new ECU, code a key to it, then pop the hood on the truck they want to 'liberate', swap out the ECU, and use the key programmed to it, to drive off in the truck.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4766
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: Security of the i3

Tue Dec 10, 2019 2:38 pm

FWIW, at least in the US, to buy a new fob, BMW requires you show your registration and driver's license to identify you own the car, and are who you say you are. That doesn't apply to aftermarket suppliers, and I'm sure there are probably ways to acquire the bits if you wanted and tried hard enough.

Always lock your car when it's outside, and you'll have fewer issues. If you have comfort access, use the door sensors, and not the remote to lock or unlock and you'll not broadcast anything that can be intercepted.
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV

KrisM
Posts: 55
Joined: Sat Jul 27, 2019 5:40 am
Location: Belgium, East Flanders

Re: Security of the i3

Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:34 am

You can place a hidden button that cuts of a wire / fuse that is needed to "start" the car , I use a autoswitch so I is working automatic and do not need to push the button each time I want to drive away, this is in my other BMW's never thought of doing this to the i3. Maybe in the future wen I have nothing else to do :).

Return to “General / Main i3 Owners Forum”