Intervention against high-tech car thieves

On Monday, the French gendarmerie, aided by Latvian and Spanish counterparts, arrested around thirty suspects across France, all linked to a large network of car thefts by computer means. Thieves or fences, they were linked to a website that sells a fake diagnostic kit that can steal cars that don’t have a physical key. More than 50,000 Internet users have connected to this site.

Thirty-one arrests. 22 places searched in three countries. Twelve bank accounts seized. More than one million euros in assets seized, including two luxury cars. With the support of Europol and Eurojust, the French authorities, in cooperation with their Spanish and Latvian counterparts, dismantled a network of car thieves who used pirated software to steal vehicles that opened without keys physicalphysical.

It was at the request of two French manufacturers, whose names have not been specified, that the Cybercrime Center of the French Gendarmerie (C3N) had opened an investigation several months ago, and it is with the support of Europol that this huge dragnet could have taken place Monday. According to 20 minutesdamage gategate over at least over 2.7 million euros, and the suspects are accused of providing the thieves with a digital kit to start cars without breaking into them.

On YouTube there are now tutorials on how to avoid having your car stolen with a “starter kit”. © YouTube

A fake diagnostic box

It’s a system similar to that of the JBL cabinet discovered in Seine-et-Marne a few weeks earlier, and more than 50,000 people have connected to the site to consult the page that sold this set. According to Europol, it is a fake car diagnostic solution used to replace the vehicle’s original software. Once installed, the doors can be opened and the ignition started without the original key fob.

Which implies that the accomplice had already had access to the car, and that it could therefore be a mechanic, an officer or any other person with whom one can leave one’s “keys”. Once he was behind the wheel, he could plug the kit into the OBD connector, retrieve it codescodes to open the doors and start the car, then send and record them. Once the car is stolen, they can delete the original settings and thus resell the vehicle.


Car thefts using a Bluetooth speaker are exploding!

On September 15, gendarmes in Seine-et-Marne arrested thieves from vehicles equipped with a JBL mini-speaker. Inside a device to start any Toyota or Lexus car sold between 2016 and 2021. In the United States, Kia and Hyundai brand vehicles are victims of theft using a similar device.

Posted on October 17, 2022 by Fabrice Auclert

The case is a month old and it is Europe 1 and 20 minutes that repeats it. On September 15, gendarmes from Seine-et-Marne arrested two men traveling in a stolen car. So far nothing extraordinary. Except that the investigators under police custody discover in their smartphonessmartphones photos of other stolen cars, and a caption asks them: ” It starts at JBL it?! “.

JBL is the name of a well-known brand of speakers and audio equipment, and the same investigators have just found a small JBL speaker on one of the two thugs. How to fly and start a vehicle with a JBL speaker? In fact, it is just a shell, and inside the device there is an electronic device for “emergency start”. This is a pirate device that replaces the ignition key on some cars tutorialstutorials on the Internet.

A very simple user manual

For this JBL speaker, a tutorial has been on YouTube since March 2022, and we see a person starting a car using a simple USB cableUSB cable. It only takes a few seconds, and in addition to the tutorials, you can get this device on the Internet for a few thousand euros. According to Europe 1, this method would work on Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles sold between 2016 and 2021.

Managed to get hold of the manual for the device and starting the car is truly child’s play. ” Remove the top plug from the Smart module found in most models and remove the plug from the module, plug the disconnected plug from the module into the other end of the adapter” can be read in this manual. ” The LEDs begin to flash rapidly colorcolor (green) after a few seconds of locking, the steering wheel is unlocked and the top LED stays on permanently. At this time, when the card turns on, press the start button once, if the car is a “Hybrid”, and if it is not a “Hybrid Starter”, it will automatically activate. To turn off the car, simply unplug the device from the adapter “.

Video manual for emergency start using a JBL speaker © YouTube

A social media challenge

A year ago, on TikTok, a similar process worked with vehicles from the brands Kia and Hyundai, and there was even a “Kia Challenge” where everyone could post their video of the hacking of a car of this brand. In fact, any vehicle that only opens and starts with an electronic device would be vulnerable. In July alone, the police in St. Petersburg, Florida, 53 car thefts, 26 of which were Hyundai or Kia. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, two out of three stolen cars were also of these makes, a 2,500% increase in one year!

The platform TikTokTikTok did not remove the video and “Kia Challenge” exceeded 30 million views; a compilation of flights is approaching four million views on YouTube! This video has teenagers stealing cars, even driving them; Police in Florida arrested drivers as young as 11 years old. More dramatically, one of the stolen cars caused the death of a teenager. The two Korean brands indicated that they were working on a new locking system.

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