Bored in 60 Seconds

There is an article in the New York Times today about how these cryptography graduate students at Johns Hopkins University have cracked this uncrackable code. Basically, a bunch of car manufacturers have employed a Texas Instruments system that embeds a chip into the key, and the ignition will only start if the system recognizes the key. So, the car can’t be stolen, or something. As if that weren’t enough to earn a shout of “who cares?” take a look at this:

“All that would be required to steal a car, the researchers said, is a moment next to the car owner to extract data from the key, less than an hour of computing, and a few minutes to break in, feed the key code to the car and hot-wire it.”
(New York Times)

Wow, that’s all? So, like, I should be careful when someone’s standing behind me in line to get a bagel because they could be trying to hotwire my car in about an hour and a half? Apparently, it is the cryptographers’ belief that car thieves have the same interest in really obscure and super-nerdy algorithmic deciphering as they do. Which, incidentally, car thieves don’t have.

To be safe, though, the scientists suggest wrapping your key in tinfoil, and then telling your imaginary girlfriend to do the same.

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