Here’s how easy it is for criminals to break into your car

Car theft is a big problem in South Africa, with 56,616 cases of motor vehicle and motorcycle theft reported in 2014.

Theft out of or from motor vehicles is an even bigger problem in the country, with 143,305 cases reported last year.

The number of cases of theft out of or from cars has increased steadily over the last five years – thanks, in part, to how easy it is for criminals to get into cars.

Criminals use simple gadgets to jam car remotes and store codes to access locked cars or garage doors.

Here are some of the devices and methods criminals can use to steal from your car.

A device called RollJam allows criminals to open your car or garage door at any time.

Rolljam
Rolljam

RollJam lets an attacker jam your car remote signal and store your authentication code at the same time.

After you press your remote again to try open the door, the device uses your first code to unlock the door for you.

The code from your second remote press is then stored, and used to unlock the door when the attacker chooses.

RollJam works on a wide range of car brands, including Chrysler, Daewoo, Fiat, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Jaguar.

Criminals use a gate or garage remote to jam your car remote, which means your doors are never locked.

Criminals can block your car remote from working by jamming its signal using a gate or garage remote.

A garage or gate remote with a sufficiently-powerful transmitter that operates on the same frequency as your car remote prevents you from locking your car.

If you do not test if your car is locked, criminals can strike after you leave your car unattended.

Criminals use scanner boxes which can open the locks on certain cars in seconds.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau in the United States warned in August 2014 that owners of key-less entry should take precautions to protect themselves against scanner boxes.

Small, handheld scanner boxes allow criminals to pop some factory-made electronic locks in seconds, allowing thieves to get into the vehicle and steal items left inside.

Criminals may use power amplifiers to break into cars with key-less systems.

Media reports surfaced earlier this year that vehicles using wireless key fobs may be vulnerable to attacks using power amplifiers.

The power amplifier will strengthen the signal of the wireless key, which may fool the vehicle into thinking the key is close to the car.

The car door will then open when touched, just as it would if the owner with their key was nearby.

Some people have, however, expressed doubts about the effectiveness of this attack.

Criminals use jamming devices to block your car remote from working, preventing you from locking your car doors.

Remote jammer
Remote jammer

Some criminals use custom-made jamming devices to overwhelm the signal from your car remote, preventing you from locking your car doors.

This attack is similar to the one which uses a gate or garage remote, but more effective as it uses a device specifically made to jam car remotes.

Watch how easy it is for criminals to jam your car remote

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Here’s how easy it is for criminals to break into your car