drivers urged to beware of tech savvy thieves

The best ways to protect your prized wheels…

High-end vehicles are in popular demand across the nation, and thieves are working hard to get past these cars’ security measures in order to fulfill their contracts

According to experts, the targets are primarily automobiles with keyless entry or emergency start capabilities. These cars included Lamborghinis, Porsches, BMW X5s, and Toyota Landcruisers.

“Criminals are using technical equipment to either relay the signal from the key back to the vehicle, or to access the controller area network (can-bus) of the vehicle through the electrical harness, and then emulate an emergency start protocol.” claims Anneli Retief, CEO of the insurance company Dialdirect.

Additionally, information from the company’s claims was consistent with the police’s most recent crime statistics for the first quarter of 2022, which showed a 14% increase in hijackings year over year.

Retief said that in order to prevent hijackings and relay attacks, drivers must be alert, comprehend the tactics used by criminals, and take preventative measures.

According to Ibrahim Kurubally, spokesman for the South African Insurance Crime Bureau (SAICB), the car’s key fob essentially continuously transmitted signals to look for the connected car. He claimed that the signal enabled the driver to gain keyless entry and operation of the vehicle when the key was nearby.

“By amplifying the signal, the perpetrators tap into the active emission of the key fob signal, allowing them to open and drive off with the vehicle,” said Kurubally.

He advised people to be extra vigilant in high-risk areas and to always keep an eye out for suspicious characters

“Most vehicle manufacturers make it possible for vehicle owners to disable and enable this feature at the press of a button. It may be a slight inconvenience, but it’s well worth it if your vehicle’s security is at stake,” he said.

According to Richard Brussouw of the National Hijacking Prevention Academy, thieves with amplifying devices would approach unaware owners as they got out of their cars, but their accomplices would gain access and drive off with the vehicle. However, the majority of those automobiles were disassembled for body parts and spare parts.

“When a vehicle is handed over and the key is not available the robber will only get half of the money,” he said

This was due to the fact that the new owner would then need to locate a key cutter and pay more money for it.

“Therefore these crimes only happened in isolated cases, unlike hijackings,” said Brussouw.

Source: The Independent on Saturday/IOL

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