Security Flaws Found In Alarm Apps

The car industry has been shaken by recent research stating three specialist car alarms have been found to have security flaws, leaving vehicles at risk of theft or hijacking.

Alarm apps made by Pandora and Clifford (otherwise known as Viper), which feature on three million cars, have been found to contain bugs which can be used to set off alarms, unlock car doors and start the ignition through an insecure app. The discovery has resulted in the companies producing the apps to enhance their security, in order to rectify the flaws.

Pen Test Partners, accomplished security experts with experience in discovering flaws in computer software, overseen the research. They had been given the task by the BBC TV series Click, dealing with the latest news in the world of technology.

The security experts concentrated on Pandora and Clifford, two leading companies which brought out car alarms which could be operated and controlled through smartphone apps. In the course of their research Pen Test Partners discovered that a system developed by Pandora which had been advertised as impervious to hacking was open to having account passwords being reset by any user. Leading Pandora to subsequently cease claiming the system could not be hacked.

Researchers found it was possible to gain considerable access to the app by way of a password flaw. For instance, it allowed them to control the remote access app of the smart alarm, as well as activate the alarm remotely. It was possible to track a car, unlock the doors and start the ignition.

Pen Test Partners also looked at Clifford, which produces the most successful third-party alarms in Britain. The researchers discovered you could gain access to someone else's profile and alter their passwords, using an authentic account. It would be possible to peruse the system, find a car nearby, unlock the doors and start it up, which could have far-reaching consequences.

The parent company behind the Clifford and Viper apps ‘Directed’ conceded it could be possible customers’ accounts may have been accessed by an outsider without permission due to an update. However, they maintained no one had gained access to customers personal information and the security flaws had been repaired.

The Russian firm Pandora Alarms has also stated it has upgraded its security, altered its code and eliminated the pain point, to make their app safer.

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