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(I-AutoNewsWire.com, November 18, 2012 ) San Antonio,TX -- New technology found on the Internet can help car thieves steal some of the most expensive and safe cars in the world. This new technology is in the form of a device that can unlock a car from outside, and once inside, another easily accessible device can start the car by accessing its computer system and reprogramming a blank key within no time. All with no evidence of a car theft. Traditional locking of your car is now obsolete.
Police say that over 1,000 cars have been stolen in London using this method within the past year. They say that they only became aware of the new technique after there were a string of inexplicable car thefts of cars that were seemingly impenetrable. Cars that were stolen included those with keyless entry systems as well as “push to start” buttons.
The epidemic is under investigation by the police and car manufacturers are looking into how they can make their cars safer. The manufacturers however, have not said which specific models are easier targets in order to keep potential thieves guessing.
A lot of the thefts thus far have been of BMW models manufactured from 2007 to 2001, however, police have surmised that this may simply be because they are such nice cars.
Due to the fact that keyless entry systems have become so common, the opportunity pool for thieves has risen tremendously.
The new device that thieves are using has been termed the “jammer” and allows users to get into a car and start it without even breaking a window. The “jammer” is reportedly made in China and retails for around £50 and works by blocking the electronic signal sent by the owner’s key to lock the car. A potential thief can stand near the car as the owner attempts to lock it and the jammer will block the signal, which keeps the car unlocked. The thieves can then use the other device to break into the computer system and drive off as if nothing happened.
The jammer is sold legally in the UK in order for locksmiths to do their job, but the technology has been taken advantage of by those looking for a free car.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Hooper, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “Ten years ago you would see a car thief with a jemmy or a slide hammer to pop the window. Now you are more likely to see them some sort of diagnostic equipment, they are getting very clever.”
In another case, 42-year-old Alan Watkins from Witham, Essex, saw eight years in jail after he was found to be the mastermind of more than 170 luxury cars worth a combined £3.5 million.
Watkins exposed that he and his crew would target garages, mostly in Essex.
In order to correct the safety problems, manufacturers have partnered with an insurance funded research organization called Thatcham. BMW has started giving customers a free software update in order to further deter criminals.
Ian Wallace, from Thatcham, said: “We have been avoiding saying it’s this car or that car to avoid alerting thieves. It could be any car."
Mercedes, Vauxhall, and Nissan said that they were unaware of specific issues, while Jaguar and Land Rover manufacturers claimed that their systems could not be reprogrammed in this way.
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