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Push-button start. Thieves reprogram BMW FOB in 3 minutes

zee

Go Kart Champion
Location
Mississauga, ON
I've heard of it happening to Mercs but this is the first video that I have seen it in action. The article implies that VWs are also susceptible too.

I guess when car thieves mordenize, it's time for us to switch back to the good old steering wheel and pedal lock.



Pistonheads.com said:
Why car theft using sophisticated key programming devices is a problem that won't go away




Recent chat on the PistonHeads forums about a worrying trend in the theft of BMWs with electronic keys has gained new traction as a PHer has posted a CCTV video on YouTube of his BMW 1M Coupe being stolen within three minutes.


PHer 'stolen 1m' (we see where they're going with that username) had their £43K M car stolen from their driveway when thieves smashed a small area of window glass in the car without activating the alarm and used a diagnostic device to reprogramme a key fob through the OBD port.
But a quick internet trawl reveals it's not just BMWs that are vulnerable. Devices similar to that used on BMWs are also available for Opel, Renault, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Toyota and Petrol-engined Porsche Cayennes.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recognises the problem is a wider issue, though, telling us that they are working to tighten up the procedures for getting hold of these devices, in order to minimise the risk of them falling into undesirable hands. They also say that the industry is working on the technological side of the issue, with companies like Thatcham in particular liaising with police on ways to battle this technological crime.

The reason this form of theft is currently so rife - and admittedly this issue is not limited to BMWs - is that European competition rules require diagnostic and security reprogramming devices to be available to non-franchised garages. As we understand it, this effectively means that car companies cannot restrict access to or use of OBD ports.

Unfortunately it also means that, to a certain extent, the hands of car companies are tied, hence BMW can still only tell us that that they are "aware of recent claims that criminal gangs are targeting premium vehicles from a variety of manufacturers. This is an area under investigation. We have a constant dialogue with police forces to understand any patterns which may emerge. This data is used to enhance our defense (sic) systems accordingly. Currently BMW Group products meet or exceed all global legislative criteria concerning vehicle security."
 

LightningRhod

Go Kart Champion
Location
Sacramento, CA
And *that* is why I didn't opt for the Autobahn package.... KESSY.

For me, too big a vulnerability window for any "advantage" it provides.

Perhaps I can take my tin foil hat off now.

It's not like it's any harder for thieves to steal a car that ISN'T keyless. They just use a different method to do so.
 
P

plac

Guest
nothing to do with kessy really. the keyfobs are programmed either way.
 

littleazn248

Go Kart Champion
Location
NorCal
Guess I gotta be careful where I park.
 

SRT2GTI

Banned
Location
Pewaukee, WI


Works 70%, all the time....

All you have to do is saw through the steering wheel to remove this...takes all of 30 seconds. The fact is, if someone is knowledgable and motivated to steal something...there's pretty much nothing you can do to prevent it.
 

bshappy

Ready to race!
Location
New York
It's not like it's any harder for thieves to steal a car that ISN'T keyless. They just use a different method to do so.

Exactly. If a skilled theif is determined to steal your car there isn't a hell of a lot you can do about it. That's why you have insurance.
 

SRT2GTI

Banned
Location
Pewaukee, WI
So then why lock the car at all?

I thought the idea was to discourage a thief from targeting your ride. In some places, something like "the club" is needed in order to provide sufficent deterrence so that the would-be thief moves on to easier pickings.

Where I live I don't need a steering wheel lock. But if I lived in some metro areas I'd certainly get one.

Could be that requiring a physical key is enough to deter a thief that only has the electronic means of stealing a car? (i.e. KESSY being easier pickings than a traditional physical VW key w/ transponder??) :iono:

In some places it doesn't matter if you lock your car or not. The club is really not a deterrence to skilled car thieves. It literally takes 30 seconds to remove...at least the KESSY system takes 3 minutes to get around it. One of the best anti-theft devices is the pedal lock that you place around the brake or clutch pedal. Key or no key doesn't really matter. If a skilled thief wants your car, they're going to steal it.
 
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LightningRhod

Go Kart Champion
Location
Sacramento, CA
All you have to do is saw through the steering wheel to remove this...takes all of 30 seconds. The fact is, if someone is knowledgable and motivated to steal something...there's pretty much nothing you can do to prevent it.

So then why lock the car at all?

I thought the idea was to discourage a thief from targeting your ride. In some places, something like "the club" is needed in order to provide sufficent deterrence so that the would-be thief moves on to easier pickings.

Where I live I don't need a steering wheel lock. But if I lived in some metro areas I'd certainly get one.

Could be that requiring a physical key is enough to deter a thief that only has the electronic means of stealing a car? (i.e. KESSY being easier pickings than a traditional physical VW key w/ transponder??) :iono:

I think you're misinterpreting what SRT2GTI is trying to say.

The goal may not be to discourage the thief from TARGETING your ride, but rather trying to deter the thief in being SUCCESSFUL at stealing it. Locking the car is of course the first thing you do to deter from them stealing/breaking into your ride. You don't want to make it too easy for them now. Steering wheel/pedal lock will make it harder for them, since they'll need extra tools to get past that hurdle, but they can still do it. It's the same thing with keyless entry, as it will require more knowledge and tools to get past that as well.

The fact is as cars become more sophisticated, so will thieves. If they have enough motivation, they can gain the knowledge to get past all the new anti-theft technology.
 

fcbayern8

Ready to race!
Location
Naples, FL
And *that* is why I didn't opt for the Autobahn package.... KESSY.

For me, too big a vulnerability window for any "advantage" it provides.

Perhaps I can take my tin foil hat off now.

So the only reason you didnt get the Autobahn was because you figured your car would be more vulnerable to being stolen because of kessy? :iono:
 

danielj1

Go Kart Champion
Location
Seattle WA
Doubtful that thieves who have these skill-sets are targeting VW's. I wouldn't worry.
 

SRT2GTI

Banned
Location
Pewaukee, WI
Doubtful that thieves who have these skill-sets are targeting VW's. I wouldn't worry.

You never know. The majority of the time theives steal vehicles that are your everyday daily drivers. It's harder to spot a stolen tan 2010 Honda Accord then it is 2012 M3 or Ferrari F430 etc.. Matter of fact, I believe the no# 1 stolen vehicle in the USA is the Honda Accord.
 
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