Car thieves are not going around smashing windows or picking locks to steal your vehicle anymore. Instead, they can simply hack your car from the comfort of their homes. Say whattt!
The stakes are higher too if you’re a car owner who’s using the keyless entry system, because you’re at risk of having your vehicle stolen in minutes by a frequency-hacking device that is available locally, The Star reported.
With just about RM150, car thieves can get the frequency-hacking device online or at an electronics store for them to unlock a car and start its engine by hacking its radio frequency identification (RFIS) information. Scary!
According to a source, almost every car with keyless entry can fall victim to the device. Some local hackers have been recruited by car theft syndicates to install the required software onto their laptops and teach them how to operate the device.
There are reportedly three ways to steal the encryption code to unlock these vehicles, as listed below.
1. Simple frequency monitoring software
The frequency-hacking device has to be attached to a computer and run with simple frequency monitoring software, which can be downloaded for free from the Internet. The frequency transmitted between the remote key and car system is read by the system, which captures the frequency code used to lock the car and decrypts the rolling codes that are transmitted back by the car to the remote key to simultaneously unlock the car.
2. “Attacking” the car system
A signal mimicking the remote is transmitted by the hacking device. Once the car picks up the fake signal, the device captures the responding rolling code sent out and decrypts it to unlock the vehicle. The whole process takes just a few minutes, depending on the hackers’ code database.
3. Stealing codes from the remote key
Just like the second method above, a radio signal acting as the car is broadcasted to the remote key. A response will be automatically sent out by the key as it thinks it is communicating with the car. The frequency transmitted will be captured and decrypted by car thieves, pairing it with the car’s locking system to unlock the vehicle.
With keyless ignition systems, physical keys are replaced by a push button to start the car. This enables car thieves to drive away without sounding the alarm once they unlock the vehicle.
However, statistics of such thefts are not available in Malaysia yet.
Automotive industry insiders still hold on to the belief that securing cars with manual keys and locks is still the best at preventing vehicle theft. This is because old-fashioned locks make it harder for car thieves to steal vehicles, whereby most will get discouraged after failing to break the locks.
Owners are also encouraged to use anti-theft devices such as steering locks, immobilisers, motion sensors and top-grade alarms. A good tracking device in a vehicle would also be useful in the event of a theft.
A car owner who fell victim to car thieves, who only wants to be known as as Lee, said he suspected that thieves used this method to steal his car.
“Within two months of my car being stolen, five other friends lost their vehicles too. I believe a computer or gadget was used by the thieves to open the car door as my car uses push button ignition,” he said.
He added that the thieves also deactivated the alarm when unlocking his luxury car.
Hopefully a foolproof solution will be made in the near future to prevent these car thieves!
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