Car Hackers Remotely Steal Keyless BMW within Seconds

As recently as April 4, a security camera recorded two people simply walking around a car and one of them was holding some type of bag close to the front door of a house. Next thing you know; they managed to steal a BMW. This has happened only days after a Mercedes was taken in a very similar way in the United Kingdom.

The car in question, the £60,000 BMW X5, seemed to have disappeared from the driveway while its owners slept. Upon investigating the CCTV footage, it was revealed that two thieves stole it by using some transmitting device that was apparently hidden inside the bag which extended the signal coming from the car keys inside the house. This model uses a keyless start system, which means that the car can be unlocked only by having the fob relatively close, or in this case, transmitting its signal so that the car would assume that you have the keys with you.

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Since both of the vehicles were stolen in Essex, it’s believed that they are being stolen by a gang that’s targeting valuable cars which can be sold at high prices. Ray Anderson, a security expert, has stated that this is the fourth time such a theft was reported. His advice was to protect the fob by putting it in a metal box, or perhaps in a fridge since the metal would block signals that are otherwise constantly emitted.

Anderson was the one who said that the thieves might be using a device that makes the car think that the fob is closer than it is and that nothing special is required to create this device. The entire process is completed in a very short period once the thieves start receiving the signal, and after that, both the thieves and the car are gone.

BMW X5

The owners were sleeping when the car was stolen and only noticed that it was gone in the morning. They wanted their identities to remain private, but they did allow a video to be published so that others would be warned about the danger.

In a video, two men approach the house. One of them holds a bag near the door, while the other one goes to the car door. The one with the bag starts moving it around the door, trying to catch the signal from within the house. A few seconds later, the signal is found, the car unlocked, and both of the thieves gone. Similar footage showed the same method being used on Mercedes C220 that was stolen on April 11.

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These keyless cars don’t have regular car keys, but instead a plastic fob with a computer chip and a security code. When the fob is around, the car detects the chip and starting the engine is as easy as pressing a button. This method of theft is believed to be executed via radio transmitters, where one is held as close to the fob as possible, and the other one is by the car door. The first one catches the signal, and the other unlocks the car.

Mercedes stated that they were unaware of these thefts, while BMW believes that this method of stealing is extremely rare. A spokesman for the Essex police has stated that they use several tactics to detect this form of stealing.

Here the video showing thieves stealing BMW


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Ali Raza

Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.