How to steal a car


Cars stolen by remote control

Well this is not really a guide to steal a car. It’s a warning to people out there with late model cars that dont want them stolen. Actually any car with remote start. By remote start, I mean keys that dont have to be inserted into the ignition to start or keys where you just have to be close to the car to open the doors. A large number of cars now have this technology including Lexus, Nissan, Subaru, GM and many more. They are convenient and practical and there is no mechanical lock which is pretty cool!

So what kind of idiot dreamt this system up?

Car key for Nissan for Locksmith Brisbane

Remote car key

Lets think about this logically for a minute. Cars in the early 90’s had no type of electronic device built into their starting device. They just had a mechanical key. The mechanical lock could be defeated by force and it was just a deterrent to slow down thieves. Given enough time the mechanical lock could be broken or the lock picked and the car could be stolen.

In the mid 90’s car manufacturers introduced the first transponder chips which were integrated into the keys of the car. The transponder chips were moulded into the keys and worked in conjunction with the mechanical locks. The transponder was not battery powered. It was powered by induction from a coil around the ignition lock. How could you steal a car with this type of system? It wasn’t easy! Even if you had a replacement transponder chip and the programming equipment, you needed the actual physical key to turn in the ignition to program the new chip into the system. The time to steal a car just increased dramatically plus there was a high level of technical difficulty in making the key and programming the new transponder into the car. As a result, there were virtually no cars stolen by “hot-wiring”.

So now for some reason car manufacturers decided the mechanical key was of little use. It was the electronics that were securing the car. The electronics were pretty advanced. The key sent a message to the car, then the car sent a message back to the key for verification, then the key sent back a verification code. No other key or hacker could work out the encryption, so it was all secure. Great technology! But for some reason these tech geniuses didn’t realise the biggest vulnerabilities of cars security systems. Locksmiths have known this ever since the first mass produced lock was released more then a hundred years ago. I didn’t realise it was such a big secret but apparently car manufacturers don’t know it!

The secret is this. If a lock or a car or any electronic security device is mass produced it has a big security flaw. If you can buy or acquire one of these devices you can dissemble it and diagnose its weaknesses. Once you can defeat one of these locks, cars or security devices then you can defeat all of them! So learn how to break into one car, you can break into every model of that vehicle.

cars stolen in Brisbane

How to steal a car

So car manufacturers went from mechanical key in the 90’s to Mechanical and electronic key in the mid 90’s and are now employing electronic key only. So they have gone from moderately secure to highly secure to ? Yes, unknown.

Car manufacturers I have to inform you that your electronic security was never secure! People have been hacking your systems from the start! Locksmiths have basically become hackers of car electronic security systems! They had to! For a locksmith to make a key to a car they not only had to cut the mechanical key, they had to be able to recode or reproduce the electronic security system. How do you think that happened? Yes, it was because once you could bypass one particular car model, you could bypass them all.
So now cars just have an electronic locking system. There is nothing else to bypass. How secure did they really think their cars would now be? Well I am sure they now know just how secure their cars with electronic locking and remote start are as they are being stolen in large numbers!

So the point to this whole article is to inform owners of vehicles with remote opening and remote ignition start that they should be very careful and probably look at getting some other type of locking device for their cars.

The key and car both transmit an RF signal or radio signal. The signal coming from the key is quite weak. That is why the car only opens when you are close to the car. It only starts the car when the key is close to the car. So you walk away from the car and the key will no longer open or start the car. Even if someone scans the code of the key, they cant open or start the car because it needs two way communication to verify the transmitted code.

So the key has a weak signal and you need it to be close to work. How would anyone solve this problem? Maybe with some of the oldest technology in the history of electronics? The very thing that makes every radio work! Yes! You guessed it! An amplifier! And a transmitter! All you need to make the car open and start is to retransmit the signal which is transmitted by the car and the key. This is exactly what is being done to steal these nice new cars. The beauty of this is that you dont need to even break anything, pick a lock, reprogram the car, or anything really. You just pick up on the signal from the key, transmit it to the car and drive off.

You can be in your house with the keys on the kitchen bench and your car can be on the street. As long as the signal from the key can be picked up by a transmitter, the car can be open and driven away. You can be in a shopping centre have the car locked and be happily shopping while your car is being driven away.

Is it a reality? Yes, it is! We have been called to jobs in Brisbane where people have had their cars unlocked which are still in their garage. They think they have been broken into as they are sure they locked their cars. They really did lock their cars. Their cars were remotely unlocked, probably from someone driving down the street with a transmitter! Of course if your car is in the garage it cant be started if a button inside the car has to be pushed.

Can you stop this from happening? I would think maybe? Maybe if you shielded your keys in a RF container? Maybe get a steering wheel lock? (Not a good look on your new Mercedes) . Maybe contact your car manufacturer and ask why your car was made so insecure? Maybe they can replace it with a car that has a mechanical key?

So if you have a car that you think is vulnerable to this type of attack, take extra precautions to keep it safe! If it is stolen and there is no sign of forced entry and you have all sets of keys with you, then your insurance company might not believe you that it was stolen? Oh yes, insurance companies are aware this is happening and they do generally need proof the car was stolen.

Happy motoring!