Can your remote be copied?

Would it disturb you to know how easy it is for most alarms to have a remote cloned without your knowledge? Are you even aware that all I would need to program a remote without your knowledge is;  access to a working remote and your vehicle, a new remote of the same model and less than one minute of my time!

car alarm remotes

How easy is it to have yours cloned?

You may think that having a system with a rolling code remote with over 18,000,000,000,000,000,000+ code combinations makes your system secure, but what is there from preventing your local garage from cloning a remote without your knowledge the next time you take the car in for a service?

For many alarms remote programming is as simple as opening a door and turning the ignition on and off a set number of times then pressing the button on the new remote.

I dare say that you’d also given your address to whoever has worked on your car when booking it in so that they can simply turn up at a later date, disarm your alarm with their new remote and drive the car away…

So much for your alarm and Immobiliser!

What can be done to prevent your remote from being copied?

One of the requirements for Thatcham approval is to make sure that new remote controls can not be programmed without the alarm/immobiliser security over-ride number. Therefore if you have a Cobra or Autowatch system then you have nothing to worry about. However there is no requirement for this under AS/NZS 4601:1999.

All Viper alarms with an ESP2 port can be locked from remote programming with a Bit Writer so offer a good level of security.

Systems made by the following brands are all vulnerable:

AVS

Dynatron

Mongoose

Plus I’m sure there are many others I have not mentioned!

Paranoid Prevention!

I know there will be an assumption that the knowledge to program new remote controls is not readily available, but most alarm suppliers will sell the remote on-line with instructions included. Mongoose even have the information freely available on their website! There is nothing from stopping someone dishonest from having one remote programmed to multiple vehicles which would allow them to silently disarm your alarm/immobiliser any time they like!

The best prevention would be to opt for an alarm or immobiliser that meets with Thatcham approval, however you could always re-program your remote every time you lend the keys to someone else!

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22 Responses to Can your remote be copied?

  1. Angelo says:

    Hi Julian,

    I have a viper 474v, is it possible to have its code copied by a qn-rd150x(chinese made)? Note they’re of the same frequency btw and if yes, how?

  2. Julian Julian says:

    Hi Angelo,

    The 474V is a rolling code remote so you’ll need the right remote for the alarm. I’m not familiar with the Chinese made remote you speak of so can’t help. Why not just get a spare Viper remote?

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