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Cell Phones Disable Keys for High-End Cars 463

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fun-toys-to-exploit dept.
Geoffrey.landis writes "Turns out if you have a top-end Nissan car, your cellphone may erase your car key. '"We discovered that if the I-Key touches a cellphone, outgoing or incoming calls have the potential to alter the electronic code inside the I-Key," Nissan spokesman Kyle Bazemore said. "The car won't start and the I-Key cannot be reprogrammed."'"
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Cell Phones Disable Keys for High-End Cars

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  • by creimer (824291) on Monday May 28, 2007 @04:55PM (#19302333) Homepage
    I miss the days when you could open the car door with a coat hanger and hot wire the ignition.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kanani (882288)
      but now you can hotwire it with your cellphone and you don't have to lug around that pesky coathanger
    • by Tyrion Moath (817397) on Monday May 28, 2007 @04:57PM (#19302349)
      I miss the days when you could put your cellphone in the same pocket as your car keys.
      • by maxume (22995) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:16PM (#19302497)
        I would only ever do that if I had one pocket. Cell phones are usually made out of soft, easily scratched plastic. Keys are made out of metal. Not a good combination(I mean, obviously, but people really put their keys and cell phone in the same pocket?).
        • I keep my cell in the same pocket as my keys unless I'm wearing me jacket (which has a cell phone pocket). The phone is safer from damage with my keys and lip balm than it is in the the same pocket with my business card case which scratched the heck out of the last phone.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by DDLKermit007 (911046)
          You carry keys!?!?!? You knuckle dragger! Get yourself a driver =P
    • by CompMD (522020) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:01PM (#19302383)
      At least nowadays there are far more fun and entertaining ways to disable someone's car. I do it to drunk friends all the time. If they want to drive, I usually take their fuel injection system fuse. I'll have to add "fry nissan keys with cellphone" to my list of things to do to cars to keep them stationary.
    • by couchslug (175151)
      You can still legally get lockout kits, and the (more proficient) car thieves know how to disable most alarms.

      The other way is to grab the car with a wrecker.
      People don't seem to care about that when it isn't their car. We've hooked up to move cars off-property for legit repos, and when expedient we've dragged them down the street with brakes locked and tires smoking. Once off-premises we'd tow it properly, but the point is that unless you are with your ride, someone who wants it can usually still get it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by prockcore (543967)

        You can still legally get lockout kits, and the (more proficient) car thieves know how to disable most alarms.

        Hell, even the less proficient non car thieves know how to do so. My car came with a Karr alarm, and after a few years I lost the keyfob. The alarm wasn't armed, so I just let it be. A year or so later my battery died, and hooking up a new battery set off the alarm. I had no way to disable the alarm. Putting the key into the ignition didn't work (in fact, I couldn't even start the car).

        So I look

  • Stupid New Cars (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomcircuit (938963) on Monday May 28, 2007 @04:57PM (#19302353) Homepage
    The amount of electronics in modern cars is ridiculous, especially when you think about how often electronics break and how easily they're broken.

    My mom has a ford escape, there have been two wiring recalls and the wiring has failed on two separate occasions. They had to completely replace the main board!

    I can understand that putting electronics in cars seems like a good idea, but it's not.

    It's DANGEROUS!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by whisper_jeff (680366)
      The problem wasn't the wiring in the car.

      The problem was that your mom owns a Ford.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fred911 (83970)
        "The problem was that your mom owns a Ford"

          Problem with your statement is that the Escape is a Mazda Tribute.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by iamdrscience (541136)

          "The problem was that your mom owns a Ford" Problem with your statement is that the Escape is a Mazda Tribute.
          Nope, no problem, because not only does Ford own a 33.39% controlling interest in Mazda, but they also co-developed the Mazda Tribute.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:03PM (#19302403)
      The new mechanical engine in modern cars is ridiculous, especially when you think about how often mechanical engines break and how easily they're broken.

      My mom has a ford Model T, there have been engine problems and the engine has failed on two separate occasions. They had to completely replace the engine!

      I can understand that putting mechanical engines in cars seems like a good idea, but it's not.

      It's DANGEROUS!

      Think of all those poor out of work horses and buggy whip manufacturers now!
      • My mom has a ford Model T, there have been engine problems and the engine has failed on two separate occasions. They had to completely replace the engine!

        Counterexample!

        I know someone with a Model T ford -- it was the first car he ever bought, it still runs and has the original engine!
        • Re:Stupid New Cars (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Monday May 28, 2007 @07:19PM (#19303277) Homepage Journal
          There's a race in England, the Brighton Run, in which cars dating no later than 1905 street-race for something like 100 miles. From what I understand, two-thirds make the distance. At Goodwood, they have some amazing historic cars which are seriously put to the test - flat-out on one of Britain's oldest (and probably most dangerous) racing circuits. So, no, I'm not the least bit surprised that a historic Ford could have its original engine and be put through its paces. Modern cars are complex systems, and no matter what technical manual says what, when you increase complexity you WILL reduce reliability. Modern cars are not designed with 100-year-warranties in mind - they are designed to be cheap and disposable. If you check, even the cars just off the assembly line and placed straight into show rooms will have rust spots (ie: not sealed correctly) and other signs of deterioration.
      • Bad, bad analogy! (Score:5, Informative)

        by mangu (126918) on Monday May 28, 2007 @06:07PM (#19302847)
        The Model T was extremely simple, sturdy and reliable. Just to give you an idea, it didn't have a fuel pump. The tank was located above the engine, gasoline flowed down into the carburetor. There was no water pump either, water flowed through the radiator by convection. Ignition was powered by a magneto, it didn't need a battery.


        The Model T had two different clutches, one for going forward and the other for reverse. When the forward clutch wore down and started slipping under heavy loads, one turned the car around to go up a steep hill. Or, if the brakes didn't work, you could use the reverse pedal to stop the car.


        Perhaps one could say that Model Ts were so widely used because they were more reliable than horses. It's more probable that a horse would become sick and die than a Model T engine would need replacement.

        • Re:Bad, bad analogy! (Score:4, Informative)

          by smellsofbikes (890263) on Tuesday May 29, 2007 @11:17AM (#19309503) Journal
          And they also got about 15,000 miles before you had to regrind all the valves because the valve seats were so soft. And they had negligible oil pressure because the oil pump, such as it was, just splashed oil up onto the main bearing ends and bottoms of the pistons, so if you did anything interesting involving lateral acceleration the engine would oil-starve and the bearings would all start galling. And because of the gravity feed fuel system, you couldn't drive up a hill forwards unless you had an absolutely full tank of gas, so you had to back up the hill.

          Yes, it was extremely simple. It was even moderately sturdy for short periods of time. But reliable? compared to modern cars that can go 100,000 miles with *no service* -- not even oil changes -- it was a fiendish monster of horror and misery.

          and, having rebuilt a couple flatheads from the 1940's, I don't want to imagine what rebuilding an engine built in 1920 would be like.
    • Re:Stupid New Cars (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:24PM (#19302559)

      I don't think it's the electronics per se, but rather the attitude creeping in from the computer industry. I've noticed it in other industries as well, such as television and phone service. Faults that wouldn't have been tolerated ten years ago are suddenly cropping up everywhere. People have become desensitised to failure with electronics because of computers. Sloppy QA because of the training/expertise/staff overlap with computers.

      And at the same time, another problem is preventing this from being solved. People put up with it. The way capitalism is supposed to work is that if somebody fucks up, you can go with a competitor. But now it's trendy to complain and then forget about it until next time something goes wrong. Shitty mobile phone reception? Moan about it, but don't ask for your money back. Crashing computer? Complain to your neighbourhood geek, but don't demand a refund. Evil dictator in charge of your country? Re-elect the fucker! When there's no consequences to providing a shitty service, that's exactly what people will give you.

      • Stupid New Software (Score:3, Interesting)

        by lpq (583377)
        People put up with it because they have little or no choice.

        Products compete on price and glitz, not reliability or security.

        Reliability and security were supposed to be _givens_ -- something you didn't pay attention to because they were minimum standards. Unfortunately, because most people were focusing on "glitz", "over here", software manufacturers were quickly taking money and resources from "QA" and security and putting them where they could get the best return on their money -- in "glitz".

        Despite the
    • Re:Stupid New Cars (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:29PM (#19302589)
      No, crappy engineering (Ford cruise control switches, having large areas of harness "hot" even with the vehicle not running...) is dangerous.

      The public want blingful features, the public are no longer mechanically literate, and the public will not vocally insist on reliable vehicles. This creates tremendous pressure on makers to offer stupid shite at a competitive price.

      Even good features like electronically controlled automatic transmissions are often poorly engineered and are brutally expensive to replace when they fail.

      As an aside, tool prices have remained quite low, and if you are the sort of person who isn't afraid to learn you can save many thousands of dollars by doing your own work. The money you save easliy buys good equipment you can use for a lifetime.
      Never has an auto repair course at the local community college been a better value. You can free yourself from ever having to buy a new car, free yourself from being at the mercy of undertrained or unethical automobile repair outfits, and know the person who worked on your car gave a shit.
      If you can understand computers, it isn't a great leap to understand other technology, and as usual the internet can help.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        No, crappy engineering (Ford cruise control switches, having large areas of harness "hot" even with the vehicle not running...) is dangerous.

        Amen! It's important to remember that Ford is just fucking stupid. There's power in the doors of many Fords even when the vehicle is off, because the window motor switches supply ground instead of power - power is constant. This is, quite simply, retarded, and it is the opposite of what basically every other manufacturer does.

        Amusingly however, when Ford bought Jagua

    • by Etherwalk (681268) on Monday May 28, 2007 @06:05PM (#19302823)
      Source? My auto mechanics textbook from college has this blurb that tries to reassure you about electronics in cars by saying "80% of problems don't stem from electronic failures."

      The electronics have given us more features and higher fuel efficiency. But still, there are times when it would be nice to make it all manual. Cars that you can't shift into neutral unless the battery is charged can be a pain to get off the road after an accident. If a wheel sensor goes bad, you ought to be able to turn them off and drive the car to a service station, instead of put-putting along at five MPH on the side of the parkway.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Gordonjcp (186804)
      I can understand that putting electronics in cars seems like a good idea, but it's not.

      That's why I like not having any electronics in my car. Oh, wait, I think the indicators use an electronic flasher unit, but it's not like anyone else around here signals when they're turning.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:00PM (#19302371)
    A safety ad here runs the slogan (roughly translated) "Car and Cell don't mix well". It actually promotes abstaining from using your cell while driving, but in this light, it gets a whole new meaning...
  • by Hsensei (1055922) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:02PM (#19302393) Homepage
    A friend of mine his dad purchased a Honda S2000 the garage was next to the kitchen. Well when they turned on the microwave it set off the alarm. The cars' keys would always have to be next to the microwave because of the "feature". When he called Honda then told him to buy a different microwave. I fould it hilarious.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:49PM (#19302737)
      So Honda's logic was that the microwave is not in fact compling with FCC interference regulations, like the sticker on the back says it does?

      That's not unreasonable. We usually buy the cheapest appliances, and there's virtually no testing on imports after the demo model. Since around 1995, I've seen some amazing crap inside electrical items that were supposedly UL and CSA certified.

      And really, do you want to stand beside a microwave that can trigger car alarms? Take Honda's advice on that one.
      • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday May 28, 2007 @07:14PM (#19303241)

        So Honda's logic was that the microwave is not in fact compling with FCC interference regulations, like the sticker on the back says it does?
        Yeah, because the FCC reguires all microwave ovens to encrypt their emissions to prevent interference from confusing other devices.

        Microwave ovens emit on the largely unregulated 2.4GHz band, the fact that crap on that frequency could hork up the Honda car alarm is almost certainly Honda's fault, regardless of if the oven exceeds signal strength limits or not. Especially on a security system, otherwise they've left the car owner a big wide denial of service vulnerability.
  • by Hektor_Troy (262592) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:03PM (#19302401)
    Nissan should simply state, that the car owners only bought the right to use a specific version of the key, and that they'll have to buy a new car, if they ruin the old key.
  • direct Reuters link (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:03PM (#19302405)
    How about a website without a required login?
    Nissan warns U.S. cellphones can disable car keys [reuters.com]
  • All microwaves? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DMCBOSTON (714393)
    Maybe leaving it on the microwave isn't such a good idea, either. Are they REALLY that damn sensitive? I'll take a mechanical lock anyday.
  • First all of my audio producer friends complain about how cel phones will splat on a recording if they go off during an interview, now this.

    Somehow the tinfoil beanie types who worry about brain damage are seeming less tinfoil beanie-ish these days...

    Where's that Reynolds Wrap?
  • by whiteranger99x (235024) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:05PM (#19302421) Journal
    That's ok, I usually drive and use a laptop instead of a cellphone.
  • Lies... (Score:5, Funny)

    by penguinwhoflew (904673) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:09PM (#19302447) Homepage
    "The car won't start and the I-Key cannot be reprogrammed."

    Obviously it CAN be reprogrammed, or else they wouldn't have this problem to begin with.
    • by compro01 (777531)
      i'm guessing that they mean that it basically fries whatever kind of chip they use for this, resulting in the key being completely useless.
    • Not necessarily. You can't record over commercial CDs. You can't take an old game boy game you hate and overwrite the ROM with the image of a game you like. Just because something holds data doesn't mean it's CHANGEABLE data.
      • And I completely ignored the issue of the cellphones rendering the key unusable. Well it doesn't necessarily have had to erased the data; some other component could fail as a result of whatever particular radiation the key is vulnerable to.
        • by qbwiz (87077) *
          A microwave can render a CD unusable, but it certainly doesn't actually write to the CD.
    • make that reprogrammed with a valid sequence (perhaps the key gets a fail(un)safe bit flipped?
    • by MoriaOrc (822758)
      Maybe what they mean is that it can't be reprogrammed to the way it was before.

      Imagine holding a magnet up to a magnetic storage device. It destroys all the data on the device, and you can't just hold up another magnet on the other side and expect the device to have all the old data on it. You need to have any data you want to put on the device stored somewhere else, and go and get it to put it back on.

      It could be that Nissan is using some sort of supposedly write-once chip in these keys. Although t
  • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:10PM (#19302449) Journal
    IF the signature can be altered by a signal why could it not be re-alligned by another? Is the frequency somehow damaging the medium that holds the signature?

    If you expose magnetic media to random magnetic forces you lose data... but it does not destroy the medium itself.

    OTOH if you pass a Sensormatic EAS tag through an EMF it destroys the medium.

    Why would you make a key like that? What's going on here? Who's running this show?
    • by Quietust (205670) on Monday May 28, 2007 @06:01PM (#19302809) Homepage
      When dealing with old-fashioned EPROMs, all bits are "1" when the ROM is erased. When you program it, some of the "1" bits go to "0" in order to represent the data you wanted to write.

      Now, it's certainly possible to change additional "1" bits into "0"s into the ROM and change the data further, but it is not possible to change a "0" into a "1" without erasing the entire EPROM (by removing it from whatever device it was in and shining ultraviolet light into window on the top of the chip).

      My guess is that something similar is happening here.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by terraformer (617565)

      Why would you make a key like that?

      Oh, I dunno, maybe it is tamper resistant or something wacky like that...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by philicorda (544449)
      It's possible that the chip is designed to fail under certain circumstances to prevent reverse engineering.

      I know there are crypto chips that can destroy themselves using chemical agents stored inside the packaging. It's not easy to find out much detail about them for some reason.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dun Malg (230075)

      IF the signature can be altered by a signal why could it not be re-alligned by another? Is the frequency somehow damaging the medium that holds the signature?

      If you expose magnetic media to random magnetic forces you lose data... but it does not destroy the medium itself.

      OTOH if you pass a Sensormatic EAS tag through an EMF it destroys the medium.

      Why would you make a key like that? What's going on here? Who's running this show?

      I'm just idly speculating, but it's perfectly plausible that the device is "programmed" at the time of manufacture by direct wire connection, then the device is cast into the plastic key head later. From the sound of it, the keys are the unfortunate victims of near-field radiation [wikipedia.org]. Near-field effects include surprisingly strong magnetic induction, which could reasonably be expected to fustigate a badly designed transponder circuit such as one would find in a key like this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by v1 (525388)
      One theory I have is that it's a bit like flashing your BIOS. Only in this case the flash goes bad and it bricks your key. (can't reflash bios once bios is hosed)
  • Only high-end cars? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:10PM (#19302451)
    The only thing that surprises me about this is that it's taken this long and it's only high-end cars. Here in the UK, practically every car on the market for the last 10 years has an immobiliser chip of some sort built into the key. It's sold as a security measure, and the fact that it allows the manufacturer to charge you £70 (around $140) for a replacement key - £30 for the key, £40 to reprogram your car to recognise it - has nothing to do with it ;) Are things radically different in the US?

    In any case, my understanding was that with most of these, the key leaves the factory with a fixed number, no two keys have the same number and you reprogram the car to recognise the key rather than reprogramming the key to work the car. This sounds to me like a simple case of bad engineering which was never considered when the key was designed.

    The upshot is that Nissan will re-design the key so it's not affected by cell-phones, new cars will ship with the redesigned key and owners of existing cars will have to pay a small fortune to replace the keys because it's not a safety recall issue.
    • by Nimey (114278)
      My '05 Civic has something like that, yes. If the key's not in the ignition, the engine will refuse to start.

      I can't say about recent US-designed cars, though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by EvilRyry (1025309)
        Most American manufacturers stopped with the magical keys because consumers bitched about paying $100-$200 for a spare key.
    • These are not your regular key with an immobilizer chip. These are "proximity" keys. You just leave them in your pocket, purse or whatever. When you turn the ignition key, the car searches around "wirelessly" for the key. Same thing for opening the doors; you push a little black button on the door handle, and if you are in possession of the key, it unlocks. The car is surprisingly careful about where you have to be in order to accomplish these things. For example, it won't let you lock your keys in th
  • by compro01 (777531) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:11PM (#19302457)
    seriously, these chipped keys are nothing but problems and it makes the keys stupidly expensive. to get another key for the ford van we have will run you $50, and that's just for the blank! cutting it is another $15. then another $5 to get it programmed if you can't do it yourself (doing it yourself requires 2 already programmed keys)

    why can't we just use a bit of properly carved metal to start the vehicle without throwing in a bunch of junk?
    • by furball (2853)

      why can't we just use a bit of properly carved metal to start the vehicle without throwing in a bunch of junk?


      Try to imagine your insurance rates for said car without the chipped keys. I'm not in the business but I'd wager that the chipped keys fairly significantly reduce the rate of car theft which makes insuring said car cheaper. I'd further wager that the rate increase of carved metal versus chipped keys to be more than $50 per annum.
      • by CompMD (522020)
        "I'd wager that the chipped keys fairly significantly reduce the rate of car theft which makes insuring said car cheaper."

        Couldn't be farther from the truth. Look up the list of most stolen cars. A few use chipped keys. I'm particularly fond of Honda's idea of security, its downright idiotic. Honda has had chipped keys for 10 years. My mom's 1999 3.2TL has a simpler key than a generic padlock, and that is justified because the keys are chipped. However, looking at the top stolen cars, you'll see Honda
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by localman (111171)
      I have keyless entry and ignition on my car (2004 Prius) and I gotta say, I do like it a lot. When I rent cars nowadays and have to use a physical key, or even a pushbutton to unlock, it feels positively archaic and a bit annoying. I'd most likely get the feature again on my next car. They put a lot of thought into the behavior, and it basically does what you expect without you even
      thinking about it. Eventually it feels like the car just knows you.

      Sometimes it can be confusing, like if you get out of th
    • by karnal (22275)
      I've got a '99 Grand Marquis that can be programmed by the owner. You just have to know the sequence - which is stated in the manual, as well as having at least one known good key for the vehicle.
    • by msimm (580077)
      Look! Shiny!
    • by nra1871 (836627)
      My little 02 Toyota pickup has just a regular metal key. I suspect many car thieves wouldn't be able to drive a stick anyway, so I'm not particularly worried. In my opinion, the simpler mechanical things are, the better.
  • by photomonkey (987563) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:28PM (#19302583)

    This is precisely why, at least where I live, the cars you most commonly see are more than 15 years old OR are less than three years old.

    The relative simplicity of cars even from the early 1990's, nevermind the 60's and 70's, is what allows them to stay on the road so long. They're easier to work on (no super-expensive diagnostic equipment needed in most cases), the parts are made of stronger metals (steel and iron instead of aluminum and plastic) and the electrical systems are more independent of eachother than in today's cars.

    The electrical mess that is today's cars is probably the single largest contributing factor to people's desire to replace a car instead of repairing it. Electrical gremlins are one of the hardest problems to chase down in today's cars because everything is sensor this and computer that. The systems are not redundant in most cases, and the parts and skills necessary to fix the problem once its diagnosed can be cost-prohibitive.

    In an age when everyone is rightfully concerned about greenhouse gas emissions and energy efficiency, why are we building cars that are very complicated, have a high energy cost to produce and go straight to the junkyard, on average, in less than 10 years?

    The worst problem is that, with the exception of some of the more advanced engine control systems allowing better fuel economy, very few of these electronic 'improvements' actually make driving safer, better or more enjoyable.

    I mean, as cool as it looks to wave an electronic key and have the car start, have we gotten to the point where a mechanical lock and tumbler are too hard to turn?

    People got along for more than 100 years in cars without GPS systems telling them (in some cases incorrectly) to "turn right in 300 yards".

    Even hybrid gas-electric cars are based on 80+-year-old tech. Diesel-electric submarines were built and operated with very little, and early on no computer support systems.

    As with a great many things, I think it's time we take a good hard look at what we have, and attempt to simplify instead of further complicate.

    • by TrappedByMyself (861094) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:38PM (#19302663)
      People got along for more than 100 years in cars without GPS systems telling them (in some cases incorrectly) to "turn right in 300 yards".

      Perspective

      People got along for thousands of years without cars, so maybe you should consider getting rid of yours.
      • When I lived in DC, I did exactly that. Where I'm at now, there is no reliable public transportation and my job requires me to carry large amounts of heavy, fragile equipment thereby requiring a car.

        When I'm not working, or my kit is light I walk whenever possible. When walking's not possible I do try to carpool to save energy.

        I appreciate that people got by for thousands of years without cars. I also appreciate the advantages that technology affords us. Cars are not inherently bad. , nor is driving

  • I betI know why! (Score:4, Informative)

    by kurthr (30155) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:34PM (#19302625)
    This probably only occurs with GSM cell phones. These phones use a TDMA (Time Domain Multiple Access) technique, which causes them to transmit at very high powers (2W) for short (1ms) times. Depending on the efficiency of the transmitters it's common for voltages over 20Vp-p (peak-to-peak) to be generated and transmitted to other devices.

    The capacitive coupling of an antenna to a key could then be quite good at the 1-2GHz frequencies (0.5pF @ 2GHz => 150Ohms). That's a low enough impedance to power up a device (through its protection diodes) and cause it to reprogram itself due to noise on the inputs. It could actually even fry the poor little silicon device, if it rectified the voltage got up high enough (>5V) for any length of time.

    It's not that hard a problem to prevent (put a filter on your inputs folks!), but I doubt the automotive key entry designers are normally thinking of transmitters at that power and frequency.
  • Slightly OT (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr@NoSPAM.hotmail.com> on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:48PM (#19302725) Homepage
    I have noticed of late that when someone's cell phone rings in my house it's almost like a mini EMP just went off. If the phone is close to a set of speakers you can often tell before the phone even rings that there's a call incoming -- the speakers start making all sorts of noise.

    I've looked into this and I'm not the only person who has speakers/electronics that respond to cell phones this way. Are they really pumping that much juice in the signal these days or is my setup wired so that EM signals somehow translate into sound on the speakers? And how do I fix that?

    TLF
    • by JustNiz (692889)
      If I have my cellphone near my desk phone at work, (say within 6 inches), about once an hour and just before an incoming call, I get a series of loud raspy tones coming from the deskphones earpiece even though its on the cradle.
      I'm thinking the signal from my phone must be very powerful. Scary considering its in my pocket quite often and that cell phones operate in the microwave band.
    • by CharlieG (34950)
      I've done a tad of research - aka had a bunch of folks bring over cell phones, and did some research (I'm a ham, and the RFI bugs be)

      For some reason, it seems that the "bad" cell phones are ALL GSM, and CDMA phones never interfere, come in on my speakers etc - I can always here my crackberry, but none of the verizon phones in the house do this (the Crackberry is works - hate the darned thing)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by glesga_kiss (596639)

      I have noticed of late that when someone's cell phone rings in my house it's almost like a mini EMP just went off. If the phone is close to a set of speakers you can often tell before the phone even rings that there's a call incoming

      This is not recent as you suggest; I saw the same thing around ten years ago. Generally it's "cheaper" systems that get interfered with the most.

  • by nuggz (69912) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:48PM (#19302727) Homepage
    A base model Altima is high end?
    What exactly is a mid range car?
  • This is news? (Score:3, Informative)

    by nwbvt (768631) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:49PM (#19302731)
    I thought that was a well known danger. My father recently got a car with one of those, and it came with a warning to keep the key away from electronics like TVs. Cell phones might be more problematic since people often keep them with their keys, but if they can do it too that probably means its a rare problem (otherwise we would have heard of a lot more people getting into this kind of trouble).
  • New Owner -- G35 (Score:5, Informative)

    by alexfeig (1030762) on Monday May 28, 2007 @05:59PM (#19302795)
    Just bought a 2007 Infiniti G35S and it's a beautiful car.

    Infiniti has been dealing with the problem quite well.

    This is really not as big of an issue as the press is making it out to be -- it's a very isolated issue. I keep my phone next to my Blackberry all day and haven't had any problems. On the G35 forums, maybe 3-4 people have run into the issue. All owners recieved a letter about 2 weeks ago informing us of the issue and that they would have a replacement key for us within a few months.

    Read more about it here: http://g35driver.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15378 8 [g35driver.com]

  • I've got a new 2007 Altima. The key dongle thingy (you call it what you want, I'll call it what I want) comes apart and there's an actual normal key in there that will allow you to open the driver door and glove box. You need the electronic part of the key to start the car because it has push-button ignition. Nice to know that it's a high-end car!
  • This is why... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whoisjoe (465549) on Monday May 28, 2007 @09:30PM (#19304065) Homepage
    I picked up a 2006 Infiniti G35 (available without the Intelligent Key) instead of the '07 (which is not). I read the part of the manual about this key, and it looked so needlessly complex. I have enough problems without worrying about whether or not my key is going to malfunction.

    On a similar note, I was getting ready to store my jumper cables in the trunk (accessible only through one of three electric pushbuttons) when I realized that if the battery dies, I won't even be able to get into my trunk! What kind of crap is that?

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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