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Some Honda key fobs are prone to hackers

Reports have surfaced online saying that many new Honda models can be unlocked and started without a key.

ATLANTA — The key fob to some of the country's most popular and affordable vehicles is prone to hackers. Reports have surfaced online saying many new Honda models can be unlocked and started without a key.

11Alive reached out to Honda about the claims. Here's what you should know. 

Online reports from security researchers said hackers can wirelessly steal command codes from key fobs, allowing them to unlock and start some Honda models. It's called the Rolling PWN attack.

Honda confirmed the claims researchers found in a statement to 11Alive, but the company disputes what a hacker can do with the codes.

Below is the full statement:

"We can confirm researcher claims that it is possible to employ sophisticated tools and technical know-how to mimic Remote Keyless commands and gain access to certain vehicles or ours. However, while it is technically possible, we want to reassure our customers that this particular kind of attack, which requires continuous close-proximity signal capture of multiple sequential RF transmissions, cannot be used to drive the vehicle away. Furthermore, Honda regularly improves security features as new models are introduced that would thwart this and similar approaches."

Which cars are vulnerable?

The list being referenced is limited to the list that the researcher claims to have tested. These are the confirmed impacted American Honda models.

2012 Honda Civic

2020 Honda C-RV

2020 Honda Accord

2021 Honda Accord

2020 Honda Odyssey

As mentioned in its statement, Honda stressed that these attacks require a close proximity signal capture of multiple RF transmissions and can't be used to drive the vehicle away.

The completely redesigned 2022 and 2023 model year vehicles have improved systems, according to a Honda spokesperson. Currently, this includes 2022 Civic, 2022 MDX, 2023 Integra and 2023 HR-V.

What can Honda owners do?

It's important to note that this does not impact Honda vehicle owners who access their vehicle via keyless access. 

"A user who accesses the vehicle via keyless access cannot be impacted by this attack method, as they are gaining access by possession of the remote, and simply touching the door handle, not a button press to initiate a transmission from the key fob," said a Honda spokesperson. 

Honda said owners can prevent this type of attack by limiting the number of times they press a key fob button to unlock the vehicle, reducing significantly the probability that the necessary signals can be captured.


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