Friday, October 06, 2023 by Olivia Cook
New vehicles have moved away from using traditional keys, but this hasn’t dissuaded criminals. In fact, vehicles with keyless entry systems are increasingly being targeted by “carhackers.”
According to a report by the Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), one particular model – the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat – is 60 times more likely to be targeted than any other vehicle model built between 2020 and 2022. The HLDI is under the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and supports the latter.
Criminals have found various ways to steal keyless vehicles, and here are some of them.
This modus operandi usually involves two people working together – each with a relay device that can capture the always-on key fob signal up to 300 feet away and then transmit it to the target vehicle car. An entire heist can take only about five minutes.
These relay devices are readily available on the internet for as little as $98, according to Andy Bars, head of police liaison at security firm Tracker.
According to Kim Komando, “researchers from a Chinese security firm were able to build better devices that strengthen the signal to where thieves can steal keyless vehicles that are more than a thousand feet away from the key fob – with two transmitter devices built for only $22.”
American Automobile Association spokesperson Mark Schieldrop told WBZ-TV about a supposed new TikTok challenge teaching people how to use special amplifier devices to get the signal from your key fob to unlock your vehicle. (Related: Study: TikTok trend of hotwiring certain car models linked to surge in car thefts in U.S. cities.)
Unique signals from remote keys are transmitted via radio waves from the fob to the vehicles. Tech-savvy thieves use low-powered signal jammers to interrupt and overpower signals from remote key fobs – preventing them from being locked properly and allowing easy entry.
Also available online, these jamming devices can affect fairly large areas like a whole car park – they have a range of about 75 meters (about 246 feet).
To a vehicle, a CAN bus is its “central nervous system,” says Steve Lobello, owner of S&A Security in Chicago.
The auto industry uses the “CAN bus” – a message-based electronic system that allows its electronic control units (ECUs) or various parts of the vehicle (e.g., airbags, audio systems, door locks, engine control unit, power steering control, power windows, seats, tire pressure sensors, etc.).
Modern automobiles can have up to 100 ECUs communicating with each other – each holding information that is relevant to other parts of its network, explains Lobello.
“You can pretty much do things, such as gain access to a vehicle’s main frame, delete and reprogram new keys and just basically speak to the vehicle in less than a minute. Keyless car theft can take only 20-30 seconds.”
The CAN bus can also be used with “telematics” – technology that captures important information about operations, bus driver behavior, safety and vehicle health.
Tech-savvy car thieves can hack tire sensors, for instance, and send false tire pressure readings to lure victims into stopping their car. Once stopped, they can attack drivers and then run off with the keyless vehicle.
Komando explains that anyone can buy exploit kits that use the onboard diagnostics port, which virtually every modern vehicle has, to replicate keys, send false error codes and even program new keys to use for vehicle theft
Master locksmiths from Locksmiths.co.uk also provided these quick tips to protect keyless entry vehicles from being carjacked.
Taking conscious steps to practice good vehicle security will greatly reduce the chances of car theft.
Visit Anarchy.news for more stories about vehicle thefts in the U.S. and other countries.
Watch this video explaining how keyless car theft works.
This video is from the Daily Videos channel on Brighteon.com.
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