By Aaron Kesel
Electronic reprogramming tools that can be used to steal cars in seconds are being sold online on Amazon, eBay and other retailers for as little as $130, which may be playing a role in the theft of more than 86,000 cars in 2016, Dailymail reported.
The worst part is how easy it is; the hacking devices allow thieves to reprogram a blank key fob so it can start a car’s ignition.
So incredibly easy that the Dailymail successfully stole a Ford Fiesta in under two minutes using a lockpick available on Amazon for roughly $25, a key re-programmer device (under $200), and a blank key fob ($6.97.)
The key programmer device was used to fool the car to forget the old key and use a new one. That device was purchased on eBay for $181.70.
That’s a total of a mere $213.67 to steal something worth thousands and thousands of dollars.
The Dailymail reports:
There are two main methods of car theft deploy devices available to buy online. The first type ‘relays’ a signal from the keys inside the owner’s home to their vehicle outside. This opens the car’s doors and allows the criminals to make off with the vehicle.
Using gadgets available from Amazon and eBay, the Mail managed to break into and ‘steal’ a Ford Fiesta – Britain’s best-selling car – in under two minutes.
The first item used was a lockpick specifically made for use in Ford models. Similar devices, which come with their own imitation Ford-logo embossed leather pouch, are available for £21 on Amazon.
After gaining entry, an electronic key programmer device purchased on eBay for £130 was used to hook up to the car’s computer system.
The bewildering question is why the Mail highlighted how easy it is to steal a car instead of privately stating such to lawmakers in the UK or to manufacturers? Instead, they essentially put the information readily available into any criminal’s hands who might not have known how easy it really was.
However, the Mail did decide not to publish the second method for breaking into a car despite giving would-be criminals the names of every tool that they would need to complete the task.
Police chiefs stated that car theft has become ‘child’s play’ for thieves.
David Jamieson, police and crime commissioner of the West Midlands expressed it was a serious problem that needs to be tackled.
‘We have a problem’, he said. ‘We are back to the bad old days. In the last two years car theft has been going through the roof and showing no signs of getting smaller.
‘Somebody could have bought a gizmo, ordered it last night, have it delivered this morning and be stealing your car with it today.
‘I’m saying to those companies these devices shouldn’t be openly on the market for sale. I have written to both eBay and Amazon asking them to remove the sale of these devices off their websites.
‘EBay did tell me that they would take them off, however, we found that they were all still on the website the following morning. I am challenging those people who are providing these pieces of equipment as to why they are still providing them.
‘The fact they have yet to respond or take them down means they’re helping criminals – and it’s irresponsible of them to do so.’
The Mail notes that all of the devices it purchased have a legitimate use to look at the car’s diagnostics.
Customers of the devices brazenly leave reviews for other potential thieves according to the Mail.
Amazon reviewers leave advice and tips for other users, with one key programmer even providing ‘a list of vehicles I have used this on’, detailing its varying success on a Hyundai, a Toyota, a Honda and a Subaru.
Jamieson further called on retailers to ban the products and for government regulation on the tools.
‘Here we’ve got, quite legally, Amazon, eBay and plenty of others marketing to overcome security systems in a vehicle.
‘That’s just astonishing that we allow that in this country.’
‘A system of registration, so only legitimate people can get hold of these things. At the moment it’s child’s play.’
Anthony Stansfeld, another police and crime commissioner, also expressed anger for the existence of the technology and lack of action.
This is a serious problem which needs to be sorted out by the car manufacturers.
This may be a serious problem that needs attention from manufacturers, but so is providing someone a blueprint on how to commit theft of a car. This is the equivalent of telling someone how to make a bomb and then saying how dangerous it is because the materials are readily available.