Back in the days stealing cars was a matter of having a wire and some brute force but now it requires some programming and you are off with the vehicle.
A CCTV footage shared by West Midlands Police, United Kingdom shows two thieves drive off in Mercedes after using laptop to hack car keys and even without touching the vehicle – thanks to a relay device that can detect and receive signals through doors, windows, and walls. Hackread reports:
“In the video that was recorded by the victim’s CCTV, it can be seen that two men are standing outside a house carrying two relay boxes. One man carrying the device is standing nearby the house’s main door or a window trying to catch signals from the car’s key inside the house while the second one is catching those signal with the second device in order to unlock the car without the key.”
— Anon.Dos (@anondos_) December 4, 2017
Since key fobs are coupled with the contactless ignition, the hackers were able to start the car and drive away like it was nobody’s business. The police are calling the hack a relay crime as it was an extremely simple heist, which took no more than a few minutes. An Essex Police spokesman said:
“Police are investigating the theft of a car from an address in Grays. The first suspect is described as being of large build and between 5ft5in and 6ft. He was wearing jeans and a black hooded top. The second suspect is described as being of skinny build and around 5ft5in tall. He was wearing jeans with a grey body warmer jacket.”
A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson said:
“We’re sorry to learn about this customer’s experience but we’re not aware of any complaints resulting from theft related to keyless entry/start systems on Mercedes-Benz cars. All Mercedes-Benz vehicles have extensive security and anti-theft protection systems. Data security, data protection and anti-theft protection are important elements in our research and development activities.”
The police in Birmingham have found no traces of the thieves yet; however, they say people with cars using smart locks should get their cars equipped with tracks and also use steering locks.