The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has gotten its hands on a device, called a Relay Attack, that can allow a car thief to open and start a vehicle that uses a keyless entry system (think push-button to start). It appears to be more sophisticated and ideally suited to a car thief’s purposes than even the RKE jammers we have posted about before. These Relay Attack devices have been thought to exist and have been used by car thieves for at least the last several years, but it’s apparently the first time someone legitimate has been able to get their hands on one to confirm their capabilities. NICB purchased one from a European vendor it did not specifically identify by name. The device was apparently developed by engineers as a way to test the anti-theft capabilities of push-button cars, but increasing numbers of car thieves are suspected of having gotten their hands on it.
In a series of unscientific tests at different locations over a two-week period, 35 different makes and models of cars, SUVs, minivans and a pickup truck were tested. We partnered with NICB member company CarMax, because they are the nation’s largest used car retailer and have nearly every make and model in their inventory. Tests were also done at a new car dealership, an independent used car dealer, at an auto auction and on NICB employee vehicles and ones owned by private individuals.
The vehicles were tested to see if the device could:
open the door
start the vehicle
drive it away
turn off and restart the engine without the original fob present
The NICB was able to open 19 (54 percent) of the vehicles and start and drive away 18 (51 percent) of them. Of the 18 that were started, after driving them away and turning off the ignition, the device was used to restart 12 (34 percent) of the vehicles.
Unscientific or not, these results are depressing. Hit the jump for an honestly fascinating video by NICB summarizing their findings on the device.
Hit the jump for video from the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport of a security tow truck removing a parked car IN LESS THAN A MINUTE by forklifting the car onto the truck’s tow bed. Not only is it much faster than the traditional way, but possibly safer for the car as well. Ingenious. How come we don’t do that everywhere? The tow truck may have been an element of heightened airport security, as the video was apparently shot in August 2015, just two months after three suicide bombers attacked Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, killing 41 people and injuring 239. The YouTube user who posted the video (link below) said the truck drove by every five minutes. Continue reading Gone in Sixty Seconds: This Tow Truck Must Have the Speed Record→
Heart-stopping footage from China has emerged of a toddler being run over by a pink Ford car while playing outside. The driver stopped the car on top of the boy on realizing what had just happened, presumably to prevent even more injury to the child. Miraculously, the toddler was largely unhurt and escaped with just scratches to his scalp. His mother was reportedly close by but looking the other way at the time. Passers-by helped to lift the car and the mother extracted the boy.
In 1899, Akron, Ohio, paid the Collins Buggy Company $2,400 ($65,000 in 2016 dollars) for a battery-powered “paddy wagon,” fully equipped with a stretcher, a cell for prisoners, and electric headlights.
Тhe vehicle was powered by two 4hp electric motors. Weighing 5,000 pounds, it had a top speed of 18 mph and a range of 30 miles before the batteries had to be recharged. The wagon weighed around 2½ tons with a seating for 12. The car was built by city mechanical engineer Frank Loomis and the first operator of the police patrol wagon was Akron Police officer Louis Mueller, Sr. The car’s first assignment was to pick up a drunken man at the junction of Main and Exchange streets. The first police vehicles were often called “squad cars,” since they transported a “squad,” or group, of officers to crime scenes.
In 1900, a riot resulted in the police car being stolen and pushed into the Ohio Canal. It was recovered and put back into service until 1905, when it was sold for $25.
The Navya Arma self-driving shuttle bus is now in the middle of a two week long pilot carrying up to 12 passengers at a time around Fremont Street of Las Vegas, for free. If the city ultimately decides to use the autonomous shuttle buses on a permanent basis, the hope is that advertising on and inside the vehicle (such as with TVs) would fully pay for their operation. Navya says the vehicle can safely drive up to 28 mph and will automatically stop if a person or animal gets in its way.
One out of eight cars stolen in 2015 was stolen as a result of some degree of carelessness by the owner – meaning the vehicle was left unlocked with key inside – according to a study released late last year by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). This type of theft has increased in frequency in recent years: there were 57,096 such vehicle thefts in 2015, up 22 precent from the 2014 total of 46,695, and an increase of 31 percent over 2013 (43,643). These numbers are also believed to represent underestimates because in incidents like these many owners are embarrassed to report the circumstances of the theft.
It’s also more common now during the winter months. So if you’re warming the car up, try to lock the door and use a spare key to access your car when ready (if your vehicle allows this), or better yet, just wait inside your car whenever possible.
License plate flippers for toll cheats have been pedaled on the black market for a while now. These are devices which, at the push of a button, flip a license plate, preventing the cameras around toll booths from recording the plate number of the vehicle. This allows a toll cheat to speed through a toll booth, with authorities unable to verify the vehicle information to determine where to send the bill. Incidentally, it’s also highly illegal, as a Floria man recently learned first-hand. His version of the device consisted of a remote controlled black sheet which slid over his vehicle’s license plate. He was caught in the act as a trooper was immediately behind him in the toll plaza when he kicked it on.
“He was subsequently arrested for petty theft and also for cheating,” Sgt. Montes says.
Cheating is a third-degree felony. “So for $1.25 toll, he now has a felony charge,” Montes explains, “we want to let people know it’s not worth it, pay the toll or don’t use the road.”
This is video camera footage from a vehicle on the highway as the occupants watch a car being pursued by the police… and it’s coincidentally synced perfectly with the Beastie Boys track playing in the car. Hit the jump for the video.
BMW has unveiled a concept for a future advanced motorcycle that would be so safe the rider would not need a helmet or other safety clothing. Along with a range of technological improvements, it would have anti-tipping self-balancing technologies that would prevent the motorcycle from ever falling over. (Honda has apparently already developed this, but its system comes into play at the very low speed of 3 mph or less). The tires would even have “variable tread” that would automatically adjust to improve traction on the road. Instead of a helmet, BMW envisions a visor with a heads up display that shows information about the motorcycle’s performance and road conditions. Don’t get too excited just yet, though. The motorcycle just a concept design and is not actually in production (nor has a prototype even been produced), but it’s intriguing to see what the company sees for the future.
A Portland, Oregon woman’s red 2001 Subaru Impreza was recently stolen from her driveway, but it was returned just 24 hours later with a note apologizing for the mix-up and money affixed to the windshield. According to the note, which was left by the responsible party with their name and phone number:
“Hello, So sorry I stole your car. I sent my friend with my key to pick up my red subaru at 7802 SE Woodstock and she came back with your car. I did not see the car until this morning and I said, ‘that is not my car.’ There is some cash for gas and I more than apologize for the shock and upset this must have caused you. … So so sorry for this mistake.”
Apparently, Erin Hatzi’s car was “stolen” by someone who was picking up the vehicle on behalf of a friend – and the “thief” got the address of where the right Subaru was supposed to be confused with Hatzi’s address. This was hard to believe until they found the keys used by the “thief” unlocked and started their car just as well as their own. It turned out as it was an older model Subaru, keys have a greater chance of being interchangeable.