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.