The now ubiquitous passive vehicle immobilizers have played a major role in improving car security. With their sophisticated technology, they have helped to reduce car theft significantly. This article provides interesting insights into design and security aspects of passive immobilizers.
For years, consumers have come to rely on the convenience and added security that a passive vehicle immobilizer system offers. These systems consist of a key fob and a base station, mounted in the vehicle. They work together to determine if the driver is authorized to start the vehicle. Of equal or greater importance is the system's ability to prevent unauthorized sources from using the vehicle. While top level functionality of a vehicle immobilizer is simple to describe, the underlying technology enabling it is intriguing and sophisticated.
This feature explores both the hardware and software aspects of vehicle immobilizer systems as well as offer noteworthy comments on design and security considerations. Specifics covered include communication technology, system interfaces, field generation and modulation, authentication, and countermeasures.