Troubleshooter: Thieves can hack your key fob and steal your car

Diane Wilson Image
Thursday, July 26, 2018

A digital hack is being used to steal cars.

Even if your car has the latest technology, it can still be a target as thieves are using a device that intercepts the signal from your key fob that will unlock doors and start your ignition.

Roger Morris with the National Insurance Crime Bureau said car thieves have essentially become sophisticated computer hackers.

He said they are using what is known as a relay attack device to mimic your key fob. It works by stealing your cars unique fob code and then sends it to a box which then takes control.

"It is basically built to intercept the signals from any of those cars that use that kind of technology," said Morris

To show just how easy this hack is, Morris and his team tested a unit on 35 different vehicles, and it opened the doors to more than half of the cars.

In 18 of those cars, the ignition started, and they were able to drive away.

Morris said car hacking is on the radar of law enforcement, but can also be hard to prove.

"The only kind of evidence you get from this theft is when it is caught on security camera," he said.

Manufacturers are working on advancements to make it harder to steal newer vehicle models on the market.