Car Thieves Using Technology To Target Keyless Entry Vehicles

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – No car keys? No problem.

Keyless entry technology is super convenient. While it’s making your life easier, it’s also making it easier for thieves to break-in and steal cars.

“Who needs the hotwire when you got a laptop?” David Payne said.

Security video outside Payne’s home captured a man stealing his daughter’s Jeep Wrangler.

The thief apparently used his laptop to hack the car’s on-board computer diagnostic port and tricked it into accepting a generic key he brought with him.

Across the country, many car owners have reported similar break-ins with no obvious signs of a break-in.

Recently, researchers presented Lock It and Still Lose It, where they demonstrated a hack that could potentially unlock millions of vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen since 2010.

They say that’s because the company re-used the same cryptographic master key.

But Volkswagen is not alone.

“They used weak cryptography so we could use mathematical techniques to achieve the same effect,” David Oswald said.

They say to think of it like a user name and password.

Every car has a unique serial number, or user name, that crooks can intercept with a hacking device placed near your car.

While they found Volkswagen reuses a cryptographic master key, they found other manufacturers use weak or generic passwords such as1-2-3-4.

Once the thief intercepts your user name, the passwords aren’t hard to crack and your car is gone in no time.

In Texas, police recently arrested two men who they think used pirated software to drive off with more than 100 Dodge and Jeep vehicles.

“Where somebody actually has the knowledge and the ability and knows how to utilize that ability to be able to commit the theft, it’s a scary situation,” Houston Police Officer Jim Woods said.

As for what you can do to protect your car, remember those clubs that people used to put on their steering wheels to lock them?

They’re still around and police say that’s the easiest thing you can use.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter


One Comment

  1. Deputy53 says:

    Might as well go back to the club. At least you’ll make them work to steal it! (Hacksaw.) If you haven’t noticed..they stopped touting LOJACK years ago. Only so many places you can “hide” one on a vehicle. And even if they don’t find it, the will just use a signal “jammer” (About $300 via the “wonderful” Internet,) to block the signal to the satellite.
    When I worked in Florida, my Hummer H3 had a fuel cut out relay that was well hidden on top of the gas tank. It required you to input a 5 digit code on a small remote control (for model airplanes,) to energize the relay. The relay was a “latch” relay. it dropped out when you turned the key off. Turn the key on-it won’t start-till you energize the relay via the keypad I had velcro-ed to the bottom of the dash. Never had my Hummer stolen! (And a LOT were in Florida between 95 and 2010, when discontinued. Sold it when gas hit $4 a gallon in late 2007. I went anywhere in my Hummer, but at only 8 mpg city & just under 10 mpg on the road…it was time to sell!

  2. John Dole says:

    Canister of liquid nitrogen, which can be easily purchased, and a rubber mallet and the club breaks like a twig. It’s easier to remove the club than it is to use s/w and a laptop to defeat the computer.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Bringing You The Best in Sports Talk Radio
New Podcast Network
Learn How

Listen Live