Car Thieves Go High Tech

Q: What’s the most effective and efficient way for a thief to break into a car…with no broken glass, no alarm triggered and being able to remove any and all contents of the vehicle…even while being plainly visible on a crowded street…yet not even raise suspicion from passersby?

A: A magic wand??  Almost!  A magic box is actually a bit more accurate.

These perplexing break-ins had been getting the better of police and insurance companies for several years now…from the U.S. to Europe. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)  estimates that $1 billion dollars or more of items are stolen from parked cars every year…and it’s projected to steadily increase as keyless entry systems become the norm…enabling more and more thieves the opportunity to hack their way into vehicles.

Car makers have continued to advance developing technology that makes vehicles more secure against criminal theft and break ins.  Keyless entry systems is one such development in recent years.  But as technology for criminal deterrent has advanced…so have car thieves become more creative in creating their own technology to counter that of the car makers.  Most recently, they’ve figured out a way to amplify the signal sent by your car’s key fob to unlock the doors. Prior to that…sophisticated electronic “scanner boxes” that decipher the radio frequency (RF) codes that unlock newer cars built with remote keyless entry systems.

“It seems like we’ve come up with something new every week or two. Some kind of device or allegations about something that could open a car and or start a car,” Roger Morris – CCO – National Insurance Crime Bureau

Thieves can walk by with what literally appears to be a cigarette pack that somehow tricks keyless entry vehicles into sensing that the fob is in close proximity…by boosting its signal it emits to help hack into the system.  And yes…devices confiscated by Texas police were evidently modified from gadgets purchased on eBay.

So what, if anything, can you do to fight back against thieves?  When you lock your vehicle as you leave it…make sure to take your key or fob with you…NEVER leave either inside or even near the car AND…put them in any closable metal container…even a refrigerator.  Since metal blocks signals sent to or from the fob…it becomes disabled and more safe.

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