Update: U.K. Car Thieves Steal BMWs in 3 Minutes

pygmalion05 —  September 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

Remember the story we brought you in early July about BMWs disappearing (being stolen actually) in less than three minutes?

Well if you don’t, here’s a quick recap — car thieves in the U.K. used an over-the-counter key fob to bypass the security systems of several BMWs in a matter of minutes. The fob was able to deactivate the luxury cars’ current settings so criminals could make a quick getaway and not leave a trace of evidence that the car was stolen.

Worried that BMW doesn’t care if your $30,000 investment is growing feet and running off in the middle of the night? Well rest easy, because BMW is making some serious changes to ensure that your luxury vehicle is protected.

In a statement, BMW made it clear that they want to ensure the protection of their customer’s vehicles: “All our cars meet all security standards and regulations, but as responsible manufacturers we are looking at ways of mitigating against this new kind of attack.”

The automaker said that actions they’re taking include enhancing the security on models previous to the 2011 series, and contacting owners to ensure they get the necessary work taken care of on their vehicle.

Don’t be a victim of this high-tech crime — replace that standard security system and protect your $30,000-plus investment!

Remember that we told you back in July that there’s a lesson here for car owners: Thieves will always find a way to get into your car – what you need is real-time awareness of when/where someone tries to violate your vehicle.

We asked our engineers and experts here for the best tips on just what these criminals are doing and how car owners can fight back against them.

They told us:

Number 1.      In order to steal a car, the thief doesn’t need to reprogram the key right away. The criminal just needs to bypass the vehicle immobilizer quickly using potentially bulkier equipment — and drive away. Key reprogramming can be dealt with later at a secure location with less time constraint (let’s say 15-30 minutes).

Number 2.      BMW security has a hole: It employs a relatively weak, 48-bit Hitag system that can be hacked in under 3 minutes using computer hardware costing less than $10,000. There is also a known weakness in the randomization of the security key and its dependency on the CAS (one of the vehicle’s modules) dump. Such a dump is available over OBD connector. In other words, all components for a system are available on the Internet and putting the system together does not require a lot of technical skill.

Our experts were quite sure that BWM engineers are well aware of these shortcomings and are working on tighter the security and probably on upgrading their encryption method as well. That will address BMW’s security issue — but also will make any key-cracking job harder.

Number 3.      In order to deploy such a system, one needs to bypass the vehicle alarm system. The OEM one-way security is susceptible to jamming while more sophisticated two-way systems provide real-time status feedback and have additional sensors, etc.

Get connected to your vehicle and get ahead of the criminals: Thieves will always find a way to get into your car – what you need is real-time awareness of when/where someone tries to violate your vehicle.

Watch a BMW go in under 3 minutes and a BBC report here:

BMW Owners Hit by High-Tech Theft

See the whole quick-as-lightening BMW theft video below:

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