Advanced tech seems no match for the ingenuity of determined car thieves
Car thefts are among the oldest crimes and such cases occur in almost all countries. Even though present generation cars are equipped with advanced anti-theft systems, it doesn’t seem to deter professional car thieves. This is evident in a recent case, where a Toyota Innova Crysta ZX was stolen from a gated community in South Delhi.
It is also to be noted here that the thieves managed to not only get inside the gated society in their Maruti Baleno, but also managed to get out along with the Toyota Innova without getting flagged by the security personnel at the entry / exit gate. Usually, all cars entering and exiting the society are registered by the watchman / security on duty. But in this case, no registry was made of the Maruti Baleno entering, or the Toyota Innova leaving.
As per the statement provided by the owner of stolen Crysta, it was a 2016 diesel automatic variant. The MPV was equipped with security features such as push start and immobilizer. The owner said that he used to have a sense of security with these advanced systems. But now he is not very sure because the car thieves managed to hack the immobilizer and drive away with his car. A security system that may have taken years to develop and perfect was hacked in just around seven minutes.
An immobilizer is a security device that is designed to prevent unauthorized access to the car’s ignition. It recognizes the correct key and won’t let the engine start if any other key is used. However, like all other security systems, immobilizers too have vulnerabilities. Expert car thieves are well aware of these vulnerabilities and know how to exploit it.
In this particular case, it is not certain exactly which technique was utilized to disable or override the immobilizer. There are multiple ways to hack the immobilizer, which have already been demonstrated by academic researchers. One technique involves using specialized scanners that can capture the code of the smart key and use it to disengage the immobilizer.
Another method involves the use of boosters that amplify the signal from the user’s key fob to gain access to the front doors. This method is generally used in residential areas, where the key fob is not very far from the parked car.
Goods worth Rs 3.5 lakh stolen
This case turned out to be specially rewarding for the thieves, as the owner had kept goods worth Rs 3.5 lakh inside the car. He was supposed to take them to Gurgaon the next morning. Since it was a gated colony, the owner did not feel the need to carry the goods home.
The police have been notified and an FIR has been registered. To avoid the stress and agony that he had to go through, the owner has urged people to equip their car with maximum safety features. He said that things like GPS, geofencing, faraday pouch and extra locks should help reduce the risk of car theft.
Thieves are using expensive cars to go around the city and fetch targets. A few weeks back, thieves in Hyundai Creta managed to steal a Jeep Compass. In that case, the Hyundai Creta too was a stolen car.