A thief can hack a car security system in minutes with a laptop

Hacking skills aren’t used solely to break into other people’s computers to plant malware or steal vast quantities of customer or user data from government agencies, social media sites, and political organizations. Another use for hacking skills apparently becoming more common is stealing cars, according to Fortune.

Car keys with embedded microchips were supposed to render cars theft-proof, but it looks like that’s not the case based on a video uploaded to Youtube recently by the Houston Police Department and Crime Stoppers.

Not seen in the two-minute video captured just after midnight on April 20 is an accomplice who raised the hood to disable the alarm of a red 2010 four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. The video shows what happened next. A man carrying a laptop got inside the Jeep and began working on the computer. What exactly he did can’t be seen in the video, but he drove off within two minutes. The Jeep’s lights were flashing for part of the time, but with no audible alarm. While the theft didn’t immediately attract attention, it did activate the security camera that filmed it.

There have been four other late-model Jeep thefts in Houston, according to The Wall Street Journal. None of the vehicles have been recovered. The Journal also reported that an official from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said it’s his opinion the thieves “are using dealer tools to marry another key fob to the car.”

FCA is not the only car company with cars that have been hacked. General Motors and Tesla have also had to change their systems when it was discovered they could be hacked, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Regarding the red Jeep theft: “Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and/or arrest of the suspect in this case. Information may be reported by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org. Tips may also be sent via a text message by texting the following: TIP610 plus the information to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.”

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