This video shows security footage in Houston, Texas of a young man disabling the flashing alarm lights to this 2010 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and then driving off after jimmying the door open and “hacking” the Jeep’s electronic ignition with his laptop. What the footage doesn’t show is another individual opening the hood to the Jeep, disabling the audible alarm and then leaving minutes before the laptop wielding thief comes walking into view.
This is the fifth late-model Jeep vehicle to be stolen in such a fashion in Houston. Senior Officer James Woods of the Houston Police Department believes that the thief was “tapping into the car’s computer and marrying it with a key he may already have with him so he can start the car.” None of the vehicles stolen in this way have been recovered.
To us, it sounds like there’s a group of tech-savvy thieves working together in Houston to steal these FCA vehicles and part them out for some quick cash. It’s a sign that criminals are getting smarter and they’re taking advantage of security flaws in the computer controls of modern vehicles. But the problem isn’t exclusive to the Space City, the National Insurance Crime Bureau says it’s been receiving more police reports for thefts of newer cars stolen across the U.S. using some form of electronic tampering.
When asked about these incidents, FCA simply said it “takes the safety and security of its customers seriously and incorporates security features in its vehicles that help to reduce the risk of unauthorized and unlawful access to vehicle systems and wireless communications.”
We understand that there are more “practical”, albeit forceful, ways to steal a car and that the number of cars stolen using this method is extremely small, but it shows us that criminals will always find a way. Auto manufacturers need to work to plug up as many security holes as they can to make sure this type of stuff doesn’t get out of control, and we need to continue to do our best to prevent ourselves from becoming victims of theft.
What do you think should be done to prevent this kind of stuff from happening in the future?