Car Thieves Have a New High-Tech Way to Steal Your Vehicle
Life + Money

Car Thieves Have a New High-Tech Way to Steal Your Vehicle

© Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

Hot-wiring cars is so last year.

As cars become more high-tech, the tools that crooks use to steal them are getting more high-tech as well.

Now, thieves are reportedly using electronic devices to disable car alarms and turn on their ignitions, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. “The public, law enforcement, and the manufacturers need to be aware,” National Insurance Crime Bureau Vice President Roger Morris told the newspaper.

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The Journal story highlights thieves in Houston who apparently were able to snag a 2010 Jeep Wrangler using only a laptop. Other news reports highlight the use of other devices designed specifically to hijack your key fob’s signal in order to unlock a car door.

The nefarious development has car companies as well as several startups focused on ways to protect their systems from potential hackers. This month, the industry will host its first-ever automotive cyber-security summit.

There have already been several examples of hackers taking over a car’s system in order to remotely operate systems like air conditioning or the radio while the car is being driven by the owner.

The opportunities for crooks to access your vehicle without permission will only grow as self-driving, internet-connected cars continue to make their way into the mainstream.

Experts predict that there will be nearly 12 million self-driving cars on the road in the next 20 years, giving high-tech thieves plenty of targets.