Thieves can easily hack or even steal luxury cars on the streets of Budapest by using an inexpensive Chinese gadget. In recent years, several such incidents have been recorded by street cameras.
The crafty criminals exploit the convenient keyless entry system of the targeted luxury cars. The point of this keyless technology is that drivers no longer need to bother with the key, they just need to get their card close to the car and it is ready to go. As the Hungarian news portal Telex reports, this keyless system can now be ordered for all the new models. Moreover, the need to use an actual key is becoming less and less common in the case of new cars.
However, what seems like a convenient solution is not always a secure one. Similar to physical key systems, keyless models can be broken into within a couple of minutes, and it is often the latter that is easier for thieves to crack. All they need is a so-called jammer, which is a signal blocker. This Chinese gadget – that worth a few thousand HUF (~EUR 5-15) – has a stronger radio signal than the key or the car, so if the thieves used it, the car was probably unlocked.
This method was used by the thieves who recently broke into a Renault and stole a bag worth HUF 70 million (~EUR 183,000).
The video below clearly shows that the car owner left his supposedly locked car unattended for only one minute while he went to the cashier to pay. However, due to the blocker used by the thieves, the car remained unlocked. In a matter of seconds, one of the thieves approached the car, lifted the bag with HUF 70 million (~EUR 183,000) worth of currency and investment gold from the right front seat without resistance, then jumped into the Opel Meriva which was waiting at the back and drove off with his partner in crime.
In some cases, when it is necessary to unlock a previously locked car, thieves use a signal transmitter or signal booster, commonly known as a repeater. This is another inexpensive two-unit electronic device that actually tricks both the car and the key by encoding the low and high-frequency signal stream between them. Thus, the car will register it as if the owner returned and unlocked the locks. This can be seen in this street video which was recorded a few years ago.
This method was used also when a Porsche Cayenne SUV was stolen in downtown Budapest while its owner was sitting in a nearby restaurant.
The thieves used the key signal from the street to gain access to the passenger compartment and then simply drove off in the Porsche.
In addition to these ’simple’ methods, some thieves use more complex and expensive ways to break into cars that are equipped with better security systems. For instance, they crack down the unique code of the start-up card.
There are certain installable systems, such as Blue 16, which make it more difficult for thieves to hack cars. But you can also take some precautionary measures. As Pénzcentrum reports, you should check with the car manufacturer whether the keyless entry feature can be disabled, or get a key fob that acts as a Faraday cage and simply masks the electronic radio signals. In addition, you had better not leave your keyless car outdoors overnight, as the safety aspects of this comfort system can be questionable in some cases.
Source: telex.hu, penzcentrum.hu