The researchers from iSec Partners in the US used an Android phone and a technique they call ‘war texting’ to penetrate the car’s security system during a demonstration at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.
According to a report by TGDaily, the men set up a GSM network and, after just a couple of hours, hacked the password and authentication messages sent between the server and the car.
With this information, they were able to send text messages that opened the doors and brought the engine to life, effectively allowing them to steal the Outback off the conference floor.
One of the hackers, Don Bailey, told CNN that stealing cars was nothing compared with the wider implications of the technology.
“I could care less if I could unlock a car door. It's cool. It's sexy," Mr Bailey said. "But the same system is used to control phone, power, traffic systems. I think that's the real threat.”
The pair said they would not reveal information about their hacking technology or any other vulnerable cars until manufacturers had the opportunity to make design changes.
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