Sunday, August 07, 2016

Your car is not locked.

Why not? Wireless signal amplifier. It makes your car think you are right next to it. Car thieves finally entered the digital age, my friends.

The only defense against such seemingly simple trickery is to construct something called "Faraday cage" – you know it as the proverbial tin foil hat every dime-store Hollywood director scripts into their "conspiracy theory" blockbuster – or keep your keyfob in something impervious to radio transmission like, say, the icebox in your refrigerator.
I know, I know. You're thinking this is a joke. So did I when I first penned that exact same recommendation some three months ago in Top 10 ways to avoid getting your car hacked. Who could seriously recommend you start wrapping up your car keys in Reynolds Wrap or hide it under the Swanson's TV Dinner as a serious deterrent to auto theft?
Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V or ADAC, the German equivalent to the AAA, that's who. In a recent public announcement, they put together a video depicting exactly the scenario described above to illustrate how easy it is to steal a modern car. Car theft never looked so easy – or so comfortable. Even more telling, however, was some actual footage showing two reprobates stealing a new BMW 3 Series Touring in less time than it takes the owner – you have to fumble in your pockets for the keyfob, after all – to get in and start his own vehicle.

Ah yes, the venerable Faraday Cage, otherwise known as the tinfoil hat of conspiracy theory fame. Seems like I've been talking about this shit for ages, but every time there's another news item, everyone seems so surprised!

Yes. Wrap your radio transmitting car key in tinfoil, and the signal can't get out. Same goes for your credit cards, by the way. With a decent antenna, a snooper in a car can read every chip card in your wallet. With you in another car, driving the opposite direction.

Oh, by the way. Your Jeep? It's not locked at all. They don't even need a signal amplifier for that one.

Using a 'stolen database,' probably a standard set provided to dealers, the thieves read the VIN number of the Jeep (that loooong ass number you can read in the windshield? Yeah, that one.) Using the VIN, the database coughs up the codes to program a new key fob. They don't need to do that though, they just use a laptop to broadcast the appropriate code, and away they go.

Now, the important question is, what are the car companies doing about this? Nothing. Not a single thing. They do not care.

Might be time to invest in a steering wheel lock, eh? Just like the good old days.

The Phantom

Update: Welcome Small Dead Animals and flying monkeys!

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