All over America, criminals are using improvised electronic devices to unlock vehicles and steal whatever they find inside. These “mystery gadgets” reportedly recreate the same signals that the key fobs that so many of us carry around send out. As you will see below, footage is popping up nationwide of thieves using these “mystery gadgets” to remotely unlock car doors and disable alarm systems. Once a car has been unlocked, it takes these thieves just a few moments to take what they want before leaving without a trace. This is now happening all over the country, and authorities do not know any way to prevent it. For now, the most common piece of advice that police are giving to people is to not leave any valuables inside your vehicle at all.
When reports of this sort of crime first came out, even car manufacturers were totally stumped.
Nobody could figure out how this was happening, and CNN startled a lot of people when they started reporting on this. The following is an excerpt from one of those reports…
Police across the country are stumped by a rash of car thefts. In surveillance video of the thefts, criminals appear to open locked cars with a mysterious handheld device.
Nobody, not even the car manufacturers, knows how it works.
In Long Beach, Calif. The man walked up to the car, and used a small box to open it. Right next to him another man, also using a box, opens that car.
The problem is they’re thieves without keys. Now they’ve swiped all valuables from the cars.
In Chicago, it was the exact same scenario. A man by a sedan unlocked it without a key. The alarm was disabled by some mystery device.
Video of the entire CNN report is posted below…
Did you know that this was happening?
I certainly didn’t.
For example, similar reports of “high-tech wireless thievery” have also been reported in New Jersey…
Police in Galloway Township, New Jersey are looking for the thieves who’ve been breaking into cars.
It’s happened about 30 times throughout the township, and this isn’t a matter of a bandit busting a window. This is high-tech wireless thievery.
In those cases, police believe that a device similar to the ones that CNN was describing was being used…
“These thieves are using some sort of RF [radio frequency] device, which is sending an electronic signal toward the vehicles, unlocking the vehicle and disabling the alarm as well, allowing the thieves to enter the vehicle and remove valuables without being detected,” said Detective Ryan Goehringer.
And check out what happened up in Canada just a few days ago…
Vicky Mackie and her friend are both certain she locked the doors of her 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan before going to a friend’s apartment.
“She confirmed that she heard me lock my door; we actually heard the alarm beep to confirm that,” said the Vancouver woman.
They were only gone for a couple of hours, but when they returned Mackie discovered that her car had been broken into – her phone and sunglasses missing, the papers in the front glove compartment scattered on the floor – in spite of there being no signs of forced entry.
Once again, police believe that a high tech “gadget” was involved. In fact, there are some that believe that one of these gadgets can be purchased online for as little as 5 dollars…
All indications point to a new device in the growing high-tech arsenal of car thieves, one that mimics a car’s keyless entry system, illegally unlocking any door with the push of a button. The gadget can reportedly be purchased online for as little as $5.
And this could only just be the beginning of a major high tech crime wave.
Thanks to all of the “technology” that is in our vehicles these days, they are potentially more vulnerable to hackers than ever.
According to ABC News, researchers have found that hacking into onboard computers and remotely controlling vehicle behavior is not that hard to do…
The possibility of this even stranger and more dangerous crime is lurking on the horizon. Most modern cars use computers to control everything from engine compression to cruise control, airbags and brakes. Those computers communicate with each other on open networks. Using an $80,000 grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), two researchers recently hacked the onboard computers of a Toyota Prius and a Ford Escape SUV.
They made the Prius accelerate and brake, as well as jerk the wheel while traveling at high speeds. They managed to turn the Ford’s steering wheel at low speeds and disable the brakes, which caused researcher Charlie Miller to drive the SUV into his garage and totally destroy his own lawnmower. This is the stuff of nightmares.
So could this kind of hacking have been involved in some of the very unusual “car accidents” that we have seen in recent years?
I am just asking the question.
Most people assume that all of this high technology that surrounds us these days is making us a lot safer.
But that is not really the case at all.
As technology advances, so do the criminals. And if we are not aware of our vulnerabilities, we potentially become easy prey for those that would like to take advantage of us.
Have you heard of these kinds of crimes happening in your own neck of the woods? Please feel free to share any stories that you may have by posting a comment below…
This article first appeared here at the American Dream. Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.