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  • How did a theftproof car wind up stolen?

    mfreek pointed out an article recently that i found interesting. seems a regular Newsweek contributor had his car stolen and was mighty puzzled as to how it could have happened.

    First, a point that some folks will not find surprising in the least... this author, who lives in san francisco, was the uber-proud owner of a honda civic hybrid. (i give him a minor reprieve since he actually described it by noting, "t converts regular gasoline, battery-stored electricity and environmental sanctimony into forward motion")

    Where the surprising part comes in pertains to the fact that car (foolishly advertised and described by the manufacturer as "unstealable") was equipped with a rolling-code electronic chip ignition system. at first, the police simply assumed that the author's car was stolen the really old-fashioned way... perhaps it was physically hauled off on a flatbed. however, the car later turns up five miles away, after clearly having been driven by someone.

    give the whole article a glance, it's not too long and covers some interesting points about auto makers' early ventures into this field, like GM's "pass key" system that was introduced in 1986 Corvettes.

    more than likely, the car was stolen by someone who had contacts with the dealership or could obtain replacement keys from the manufacturer. i find it interesting that so many people fear the latest and newest potential technology threat, when in reality the most likely types of theft you will experience are low-tech and human-based. (i.e. - when someone tells me that their credit card was compromised and they wonder "if it had to do with the online shopping i did before father's day" and i try to explain that amazon.com didn't have anything to do with their credit card number being stolen... it was scribbled down on the back of a cigarette pack by a gas attendant or the new girl who answers the phone at your local pizza joint.)

    for all of people's trepidation about high-tech hucksters and cat burglars who are going to disable their laser-based burglar alarms, they can't just accept that a junkie with a brick or the disgruntled receptionist in the payroll department is a much greater threat. this argument can always be extrapolated out to the Nth degree when talking about all kinds of security... a state might spend millions every year and enact an assload of regulations to "prevent" something like a maniac going on a machine-gunning spree* while at the same time they don't pay for enough parole officers or domestic dispute counselors to keep tabs on minor situations that have far greater potential for causing future harm.

    * i wouldn't exactly say this money is pissed away, since the public has a legitimate interest in preventing massacres with automatic weapons... but no one keeps things in perspective or considers the costs in terms of people's liberty and real dollars
    "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
    - Trent Reznor

  • #2
    Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
    i find it interesting that so many people fear the latest and newest potential technology threat, when in reality the most likely types of theft you will experience are low-tech and human-based. (i.e. - when someone tells me that their credit card was compromised and they wonder "if it had to do with the online shopping i did before father's day" and i try to explain that amazon.com didn't have anything to do with their credit card number being stolen... it was scribbled down on the back of a cigarette pack by a gas attendant or the new girl who answers the phone at your local pizza joint.)
    As an illustration, I kept two credit cards. One I used regularly for in-person purchases and the other I used only on the internet. One day fraudulant charges showed up in the form of some bus tickets and groceries bought from a roach infested store in NY. Guess which card it was? Yup, probably some underpaid restaurant worker scribbled my number down before handing it back to me and getting a tip.

    for all of people's trepidation about high-tech hucksters and cat burglars who are going to disable their laser-based burglar alarms,
    Along these lines, an electronic car alarm can cost $300, more if you look for something ridiculous, but doesn't do much except piss off the neighbors. For about the same amount of money you can get a whole boot for your wheel or for $60 you can get a brake lock. It's not flashy, you can't show it off, but it's more effective than a car alarm which the neighbors ignore because this is the 9th time it's gone off this week.

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    • #3
      Yes, but in the end, each 'solution' simply adds time to the process- Hopefully that is enough to make a would-be thief move on- but if he/she (for what ever reason) has it in for YOUR car, then it end the end doesn't really matter what you do to stop them...

      LosT

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LosT
        if he/she (for what ever reason) has it in for YOUR car
        it's one of the many reasons that i would never consider owning a flashy car. i don't want to own a rattletrap or a piece of shit vehicle... but i've never found any great appeal in luxury cars or sports cars. give me something with a solid frame, decent ground clearance, and enough room inside to transport a fair number of people and/or gear and i'm happy. my 1999 yukon has just shy of 200,000 miles on it and is still running great. i wouldn't dream of getting rid of it unless it catches on fire and then breaks in half. (and people who lease vehicles 100% of the time, constantly going from one to the next really perplex me, except for those who do so for work purposes)

        i think skroo and i and some others hit on this point some time ago, actually... the abysmal dearth of basic, utility-grade automobiles on the market today. they should bring back the CJ jeep, damnit!

        i could have comperable interior room, towing capacity, and ground clearance with a lincoln navigator... but i wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. i don't dig the notion of owning a car that everyone tries to steal and which i'd feel bad about loading up with a bag of mulch or sliding a dozen two by fours in the rear, scraping up the plastic around the doors a little as i did so.

        (there's also the matter of not wanting to stand out when i drive down the road in excess of the posted limit. on highways around here absolutely no one does 65... the minimum you see is 70, typically people are going close to 80. police officers have to use some system by which they choose whom to pull over in a situation like that, and i like to be as non-descript and easy to ignore as possible.)
        "I'll admit I had an OiNK account and frequented it quite often… What made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world's greatest record store… iTunes kind of feels like Sam Goody to me. I don't feel cool when I go there. I'm tired of seeing John Mayer's face pop up. I feel like I'm being hustled when I visit there, and I don't think their product is that great. DRM, low bit rate, etc... OiNK it existed because it filled a void of what people want."
        - Trent Reznor

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Deviant Ollam
          it's one of the many reasons that i would never consider owning a flashy car. i don't want to own a rattletrap or a piece of shit vehicle... but i've never found any great appeal in luxury cars or sports cars.
          I think you might be surprised at what the next crop of stolen cars is. While doing some research I discovered that VW does not make a 2006 Jetta TDI Wagon. The 2005 originally went for about 21k and a year later, that same car is going for 25k. It gets 43mpg.

          i think skroo and i and some others hit on this point some time ago, actually... the abysmal dearth of basic, utility-grade automobiles on the market today. they should bring back the CJ jeep, damnit!
          I agree. There seems to be little between the SUVs For Those Who Can Afford them and the Trendy Cars for Youth. Sure, there are more and more cross over vehicles, but what are the options on the Scion? Not cruise control... just lots of different types of rims, lighting options, and DECALS for your windows. Oh yeah, and it's fugly.

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          • #6
            Top Ten Stolen Cars (a few year old...but nonetheless, not much luxury or sports cars here)

            1. Toyota Camry
            2. Honda Accord
            3. Oldsmobile Cutlass
            4. Honda Civic
            5. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
            6. Chevrolet full size C/K pickup
            7. Toyota Corolla
            8. Chevrolet Caprice
            9. Ford Taurus
            10. Ford F150 pick up
            "\x74\x68\x65\x70\x72\x65\x7a\x39\x38";

            Comment


            • #7
              That stolen car...

              Funny you should bring that up.

              I had dinner with the owners last year after it happened, and I actually inspected the car looking for disturbances in the engine compartment.

              No dust seemed to be disturbed near the starter, battery, or other boxes. I was hoping to see something messed up and get an idea on how it was done. They hadn't opened the hood until I asked, so no contaminated crime scene there!

              I was betting the criminals just jumped the car, and put it in a dumb loop back mode, bypassing all the electronics. When I asked what kind of milage it had gotten once stolen, it was about 1/2 of what the car got normally. That makes me think it was in some 'safe fallback' mode.

              Who's car was it, you ask? Long time DEF CON speaker Jennifer Granick and her Husband!
              PGP Key: https://defcon.org/html/links/dtangent.html

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Dark Tangent
                I was betting the criminals just jumped the car, and put it in a dumb loop back mode, bypassing all the electronics. When I asked what kind of milage it had gotten once stolen, it was about 1/2 of what the car got normally. That makes me think it was in some 'safe fallback' mode.
                This makes a lot of sense, and would be extremely simple to do. Slide under the car with a pair of wirestrippers, cut the wiring to the oxygen sensor(s), and voila, instant limp-home mode once it starts up again. Why that would bypass the key and lock checks I don't really know, but I guess it's possible that the software may react that way, intentionally or otherwise. Interesting.

                Who's car was it, you ask? Long time DEF CON speaker Jennifer Granick and her Husband!
                Bacon, meet six degrees... :)

                Comment


                • #9
                  No link handy but there was a thing about Devid Beckham having lost a few high BMW's where the thieves would plug into the engine and add thier own transponders to the 'key ring' in the onboard computer and just drive away. A laptop and 20 minutes is all you need (well, a jigler set with transponders too)

                  It would be interesting to plug into the engine and see if there are more keys in the system than there should be.

                  That said, my boss has a Toyota Prius that uses a RFID tag that just has to be present. No key insertion required, just sit down and push the power button. Must not hack bosses car!
                  Never drink anything larger than your head!





                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by renderman
                    No link handy but there was a thing about Devid Beckham having lost a few high BMW's where the thieves would plug into the engine and add thier own transponders to the 'key ring' in the onboard computer and just drive away. A laptop and 20 minutes is all you need (well, a jigler set with transponders too)

                    It would be interesting to plug into the engine and see if there are more keys in the system than there should be.

                    That said, my boss has a Toyota Prius that uses a RFID tag that just has to be present. No key insertion required, just sit down and push the power button. Must not hack bosses car!
                    Render -

                    Here is a link to the story - Interesting is that it's happened twice.

                    http://www.engadget.com/2006/05/03/b...oting-thieves/
                    DaKahuna
                    ___________________
                    Will Hack for Bandwidth

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                    • #11
                      Credit cards information stolen at "local stores",

                      "Unstealable cars" that use special transponder keys getting stolen,

                      "The Club" being circumvented through cutting the steering wheel,

                      RFID reading ?? cloning to start a car,

                      Physical access wins again! :-)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Unstealable car gets stolen...
                        Unhackable systems gets hacked...
                        Unsinkable ship sinks... (Oh wait, that was Nature in the form of an iceberg. Don't mess with Nature...)

                        There's a red thread going through this. Don't say something is un-whatever, because nemesis will take offence and strike down hard.
                        OIOW if something is manmade to be un-whatever, you can be sure that there will be a manmade attempt at circumventing it.
                        The natural curiosity of humans, the lust to tinker with things to make them do stuff that they weren't supposed to do or do the stuff they were made to do in a better manner, the drive to prove you are smarter than the other guy. I think all of the readers here can recognise one or more of those traits in them selves.

                        Dutch
                        All your answers are belong to Google. Search dammit!!!

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