Car Thieves Hide Devices In Plain Sight

Apr 29, 2024 2 min read
Car Thieves Hide Devices In Plain Sight

Car thieves are a determined group…

As you’re probably well aware, your car’s push-button ignition isn’t as secure as you might once have believed. Despite all the modern technology loaded into new vehicles, thieves are able to steal them with ease, sometimes in under 30 seconds. A report from The Times in the UK highlights how criminals are buying devices enabling them to swipe modern rides for not that much cash, plus these devices are disguised like legitimate items. That means if the thieves are stopped by cops before they swipe a car and are searched, officers likely won’t realize what they’re up to.

Someone built a Tesla ute. See it here.

The Times claims these devices are being sold on the internet for £1,300 or about $1,580 USD, which isn’t that much considering they can be used to steal cars worth more than $50,000. These relatively simple devices are often disguised as something benign like a Bluetooth speaker you might connect to your smartphone or an old cell phone, something that won’t arouse suspicion.

To get these devices to work, thieves have to access the vehicle’s network, allowing them to manipulate the locks, immobilizer, and the ignition. On certain models, this can be done from the exterior of the car, usually through electronic components located in the front end. This means thieves are removing the bumper cover in part or entirely so they can access those systems.

In the report from The Times, a man who had his Toyota stolen said he found it with the bumper cover partly hanging off one time, then later completely removed and sitting on the sidewalk. Finally, he woke up one morning to his vehicle just plain missing. Ironically, that guy is an automotive cybersecurity consultant.

What police in the UK and plenty of cities in the US have been recommending is that people use some low-tech anti-theft solutions like a steering wheel lock, wheel lock, or maybe the Trunk Monkey. The idea is to make your ride less attractive. It’s also worth living somewhere you can park in a private, secured garage.

Source: The Times

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