Car manufacturers take special precautions to make our cars as thief proof as possible. Whether it’s done by installing special locks or alarm systems, companies constantly innovate in order to outsmart the common criminal. However, while many successfully perform their functions, few would suggest that they are unbreakable. Epitomized in recent string of breaches of a particular safety system, it looks like even our best efforts to secure our cars prove useless to the tactful car thief, bringing us back to the realization that nothing is unbreakable.
According to sources at the Telegraph, thieves have developed a sophisticated technique to drive off with your expensive car without even breaking a window. They accomplish this by using a hi-tech device, which can cost as little as £50, that ‘jams’ the signal that is released when you press the ‘lock’ button on your fob. This leaves the car unlocked and once inside the thief can use a key program device that manipulates the stored signal through the diagnostic port. Within seconds the culprit is given a black key that allows them to drive away, without anyone even noticing.
Officers were made aware of this technique after a series of unexplained car thefts have left themselves, as well as the car owners, baffled. This has led them to conclude that the modern thieves have been target high performance cars, like BMW, that tend to use keyless entry systems and push start buttons. According to police, nearly 1,000 cars have been stolen in London in the past year alone by using this method. Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hooper said that ““Ten years ago you would see a car thief with a jemmy or a slide hammer to pop the window. Now you are more likely to see them some sort of diagnostic equipment – they are getting very clever.”
In order to combat this program, car companies are working to close the loophole in the system as quickly as possible. However, rather unhelpfully, they are reluctant to say which models are affected by the faults, citing a need to keep these secrets away from thieves. Perplexingly, it’s likely that skilled thief’s already know which models are open to manipulation, leaving the consumer holding a faulty key fob without any protection.