With car security getting ever more sophisticated, criminals targeting cars have had to become more sophisticated too; consequently, a third of car thefts are now blamed on hackers who can get into and start vehicles without the need for keys.
Barely a decade ago, car crime consisted of nothing more complicated than a coat hanger for getting access to the car. In 2014 however, criminals are resorting to hacking to get around car security systems, as a number of cars now have keyless entry and ignition systems.
Hackers are now adept at tricking electronic systems to get into and start modern cars, which may not have physical keys. Theresa May is expected to announce today that modern thieves are able to navigate around security systems and programme new electronic keys, or ‘grab’ security codes when the owner uses their remote central locking.
A number of security experts worry that gangs may start to use computer software to take over car’s electronic systems via satellite, reports the Daily Mail. Already, many thieves don’t need to use force to get into cars and are able to drive away cars in as little as 10 seconds – without having to cause any damage in the process.
Figures from the Metropolitan Police show that over a third of cars stolen in London are not driven away using a key. Mrs May will say that police and car manufacturers must work together to solve the problem.
May is expected to say that car thieves might use sophisticated devices to ‘grab’ the security coding when the owner uses the key so they can use it themselves. She is likely to add that there have been reports that criminals could even use malware to commandeer vehicle systems via satellites and issue remote demands to unlock doors, disable alarms and start car engines.
The increased amount of car hacking threatens to reverse years of falling car crime, with police suspecting that tens of thousands of vehicles are being hacked into every year. The Metropolitan Police are advising owners to park cars in well-lit areas and consider purchasing physical security devices like steering and gearstick locks, or car tracking devices.