How thieves are using technology to break into cars

  • 18/08/2018

Thieves across the globe have gone high-tech and begun sneaking into peoples' cars by tricking new smart key fobs.

US man Eric Ellis fell victim to the thieves, who managed to unlock his car without even touching it using a device that imitated the smart key fob, CBS News reports.

"Everything from the glovebox is sitting in the passenger seat, so that's when I knew somebody had been in there," he said.

The two men made off with Mr Ellis' workout gear and not much else, but police in the states are seeing more cases like his where the thieves can trick their way into the car.

"Cars are basically computers on wheels, and anything that can defeat the computer system on the car is a very popular item among car thieves and hackers," said National Insurance Crime Bureau vice president Roger Morris.

Mr Morris has seen two very common kinds of fob hacking, either amplifying the signal of the existing fob or using a device that steals a fob's signal.

The amplifier can take a device's signal from inside buildings and send it to another advice. For example it could take the signal of a fob sitting in the kitchen bench and send it to the device of a thief standing outside the house.

But they're fairly easy to stop by using a metal box, aluminium foil or a faraday bag - a pouch designed to protect electronics signal interference.

What could be harder to avoid are the devices that steal the signal. They work by intercepting the fob's code while it's being used and sending it to another device.

That person then uses their device to break into the car and drive away, all without a key.