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The Future of Hi-Tech Auto Theft 272

NicknamesAreStupid writes "Over the past twenty years, car theft has declined as new models incorporated electronic security methods that thwarted simple hot-wiring. The tide may now be turning, as cars become the next Windows PC. The Center for Automobile Embedded Systems Security has posted an interesting paper from UCSD and UW that describes how modern cars can be cracked (PDF). Unlike the old days of window jimmies, these exploits range from attacks through the CD or iPod port to cellular attacks that take inventory of thousands of cars and offer roaming thieves Yelp-like choices ('our favorite is mint green with leather') with unlocked doors and running engines."
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The Future of Hi-Tech Auto Theft

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  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:37PM (#38677134)

    one of the reasons auto theft declined is police busted and closed chop shops that took and resold the parts. and you can now buy cheap off brand parts for any car as well. not like anyone stole cars back in the day for personal use

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:41PM (#38677190)

    Joyriding must be a foreign concept to you then...

  • by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:43PM (#38677230)
    In many many ways we've been opening more security holes in our cars as time progressed, the wireless unlockers. Even if we pretend that wireless isn't heaven to sniff and spoof. People leave their keys out in all sorts of public places, not everyone locks them up at the gym, most people leave them unattended at a waterpark or beach etc... before wireless that was reasonable, no-one is going to steal my keys because there are 500 cars in the parking lot, nobody can try each one. now with wireless, if you steal someones keys, you can just walk around the lot and push a button to make it beep and find out where the car is.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:45PM (#38677262)

    Sometimes the electronics to control certain parts of the car are in the stereo to keep you from upgrading the stereo. Ford, for example, uses strange oval shapes to keep you from replacing their crappy stereo. Chevrolet in the case of my old Monte Carlo put the door chime and some of the interior light controls in the stereo. The work-around Best Buy did in my car was to move the original stereo to the glove compartment and leave it connected to everything but the speakers. In my wife's Lexus, the car wouldn't even start without the radio. I gave-up on upgrade the stereo in it. Car makers these days go to great lengths to make sure you do not get good sound in your car and buy any upgrades from them.

  • by AlienSexist ( 686923 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:47PM (#38677302)
    My understanding is that there is a very hot market for stolen whole cars in Asia, Mexico, and Central & South America. Driven across the border to Mexico for further distribution, sometimes by ship. Pickup trucks in particular are being taken for this purpose. You're right though. Most often cars are not stolen, only broken into for their contents or disassembled for valuable parts. Catalytic converter thefts have been very high because they contain various mixtures of platinum, palladium, rhodium and prices for those precious metals were very high. Just like there's been a huge rash in national copper thefts.
  • by 427_ci_505 ( 1009677 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @03:55PM (#38677412)

    Depends on the car. The Corvette, for example, has three variants on the engine, each variant costing a different amount of money.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:10PM (#38677616)

    You have a great point about Chevrolet. I install stereos for a living, and Corvettes have some very creative protections against replacing the stereos. GM really wants you to have to suffer with the absolutely horrible Bose stock stereo. GM uses non-standard line out voltages in the Corvette so you can't connect the head unit to a real amplifier. Also, they place the amplifiers in the door which doesn't leave you with enough room to put even a tiny Alpine amp in the door even if you ignore the air flow problems. A real amp will fit under the seat but only if you have one of the few Vettes without power seats. In addition they use proprietary thin woofers in the doors which, of course due to physics, sound horrible. The speakers are a weird and complicated size so you have to fabricate mounting brackets. Also the speakers are a nonstandard impedance so you can't drive them with a standard car amp. Even with all of that work, GM decides to take the door and key chimes away from you if you replace the headunit.

    What all of that means is if you want to upgrade or repair any single component, you must replace the entire system.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:17PM (#38677700) Homepage


    It's on the bus to listen for vehicle speed so the active volume can go up and down. Advanced one spit out channel and RDS data for the HUD. there is zero possibility to send out a "lock up the breaks" command from the car stereo into the CANBUS unless you rewrite the stereo's firmware first. and that is not gonna happen, There are a LOT of guys looking to hack GM and Ford satnav systems to get past the damn CANBUS VIN lock. They have had ZERO success in the past 5 years.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:31PM (#38677850)

    They aren't 'put in the stereo to intentionally make it harder' as you imply, but when you disconnect the stereo's internal bus, you do fuck up a portion of the cars' network.

    GM really doesn't give a fuck if you put in a different stereo after you bought the car ... YOU ALREADY PAID FOR THE STEREO IN THE CAR.

    Replacing the stereo is also rather trivial, you just need an interface kit that will interface your stereo with the cars data bus. These interface kits are well known (Best buy sells the damn things) and fit pretty much any car on the planet and make it work with any kind of stereo from old school analog systems to fully modernized systems with blutooth phone audio relays and text output to the display.

    Its not the car makers that don't know what they are doing in your case, its you and best buy.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:35PM (#38677878)

    Wow, you are one of the worst 'stereo installers' I have ever fucking met.

    You do realize there is an interface kit for every GM vehicle on the planet that will make it 'normal' or 'industry standard', right? Give you standard line outs, standard speaker outs, will still make sure that you get all your interface sounds piped through your speakers like door chimes and warning bells, blinker clicks, ect ...

    Whats great is you're talking about them using weird speakers shapes in places where ... NORMAL SHAPES WON'T FIT.

    What all of this means is that you don't actually know what you're talking about.

    GM only has 2 or 3 interface busses for the dash electronics in their cars and there are interfaces for all of them. Get a clue about your job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @04:53PM (#38678062)

    Joyriding isn't stealing. At least not in the UK. Theft (aka stealing) requires an intention to permanently deprive, which joyriding lacks. Joyriding is why the offence of taking without consent (aka TWOCing) was introduced.

  • by johnny cashed ( 590023 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @05:25PM (#38678422) Homepage
    4runner is a truck, no need for a jack. They make pipe cutters with multiple wheels on a chain and a vise-grip like handle. It allows for plumbers to do repairs in tight spaces. Quiet, quick. Or just turn up your stereo while your buddy uses a cordless sawzall (TM).
  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @05:49PM (#38678666) Homepage

    Here in Canada, auto theft is roughly the same. Most cars aren't chopped and sold. Anything from '09-99, they're devinned, and resold with a remarked vin from a wreck. Strip-vinning has long since gone out of style because it's a hassle, every part on cars made in the last 5 years or so has the VIN on it. From the windows, and bumpers, to the air and A/C compressor, down to the taillamp and wiring harness. So it did it's job. Their favorite targets are mostly cars/trucks/suv's in the '02-08 range where VINs were only stamped on engine/body frames. And where salvages are easy to find. So fair warning, see a deal, get it checked. And double check that dash VIN against the body, frame and engine. Otherwise, your vehicle is forfeit nearly everywhere to the owner, and you're out your money.

    The new thing is to simply either pull up and drive away with the vehicle using a stolen tow, or they pay a tow driver on the side to dump a vehicle somewhere. And then strip out the computer and replace it with a new one along with a new keyset. These are then sold overseas, mostly in russia, china and the middle east.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.