High-tech car theft: How to hack a car (CBC Marketplace)

High-tech car theft: How to hack a car (CBC Marketplace)


>>Charslie: We are in the
middle of a mystery…
Trying to track down a device
that could be making these cars,
and yours, open to attack by
thieves.
Our search for that device is
about to uncover a surprising
new world of cars and crime.
Watch this home security video.
It’s the middle of the night in
Long Beach, California.
Two suspects approach two cars
parked in someone’s driveway.
With little effort, the first
man opens the first vehicle and
in he goes.
The second man approaches the
other vehicle, and with a slight
pause, he too is in.
He seems to have something in
his hand.
Could that be the mystery
device?
>>Long Beach police department
is baffled by a series of
high-tech auto thefts.
>>Charslie: Across the
continent.
>>NBC 5 has learned of a new
way thieves are breaking into
your cars.
>>Charslie: The same scenario
and the same results.
>>It is crime catching on here
in Winnipeg.
And we have video of it.
>>Charslie: It’s like they have
their own keys.
>>One guy has something in his
hand.
Then he walks over to the
Toyota.
And, bingo, it opens.
>>Charslie: So, how do they do
it?
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: Our trail leads
us to Washington.
And to some victims of car
theft —
>>Show time.
>>Charslie: Who happen to be
two of our very own colleagues.
[ Speaking in French
>>Charslie: Christian Latrielle
and Marcel Calfat work for
Radio-Canada, the French side
of CBC.
They were on assignment when
they found themselves in the
middle of a crime story.
So take me back.
What was happening that day?
>>It was the last day of our
shoot.
So we had checked out of the
hotel, packed the van with
everything, all our equipment,
our personal luggage, and we had
one more interview to do.
As I was leaving, I just turned
around and with the zapper just
locked the door.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: A witness tells
them soon after they left, a man
approached the van and circled
it.
The man opened the van, no
problem, as if he had a key.
And within minutes, emptied it.
>>And me and the cameraman, we
opened the trunk.
When he opened the trunk,
I couldn’t believe that the
material, the equipment wasn’t
there anymore.
It was like a dream.
You know? I went foggy.
It took me a few seconds to
realize that everything was
gone.
>>Charslie: This list shows
they lost about $30,000 in
equipment and personal items.
Did police have any theories
about what may have happened?
>>When the patrol car came, oh
yeah, yeah, they probably stole
your — the wavelengths or
whatever.
I said, what are you talking
about?
I had never heard of this.
They said yeah, happens all the
time, where they can grab your
signal when you’re trying to
lock the car and after that,
they just open it.
>>Charslie: This is something
that happened in California.
>>That was easier than I
thought.
>>Charslie: Were you surprised
it’s that easy?
>>That’s amazing.
No hesitation.
Just poof, open the door.
>>Charslie: Had these suspects
also captured signals using them
here to unlock these cars?
Police aren’t sure.
The internet, though, is filled
with theories, products and
videos that claim to know the
trick.
Scanners, jammers and amplifiers
that interfere with the unlock
code your fob sends to your car.
But does any of this stuff
really work?
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: We’re in
California.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: The car theft
capital of the U.S.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: To meet a guy who
says he can prove it’s possible.
Samy Kamkar has a very nice
ride.
He hasn’t, though, always done
very nice things.
He once created the fastest
spreading computer virus of all
time.
We’ve hired Samy to show us how
he can get around car security.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: And to see if he
can pop the locks on this 2016
Cadillac SRX.
So Sammy, what is that?
>>So, this is a device I call
roll jam.
It’s proof of concept that I’ve
created that demonstrates some
of the insecurities with
vehicles today.
It gives me the ability to
unlock a car when it really
shouldn’t be unlocking.
>>Charslie: What motivated you
to come up with this?
>>Cars are now pretty much
just computers on wheels.
So like a computer, they’re
vulnerable to various types of
attacks.
So just interested in what are
the attacks that are possible
today?
>>Charslie: Samy is known as a
white hat hacker.
He tries to expose flaws in
security systems before the bad
guys do.
>>We’ll place a smaller version
that basically interferes with
the signal on the vehicle.
>>Charslie: Can his device hack
his way through the latest
antitheft features?
>>And this device, this is what
picks up the signal.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: First he needs to
figure out the car’s frequencies
and program the device.
After about half an hour, time
to put this hacker to the test.
>>Hit unlock.
Try a few times.
Cool.
So I’m basically taking that
signal.
So now that signal is programmed
in here.
I can disable this.
And when I want, I can go up to
the car and I can unlock it.
So currently we see it’s locked.
>>Charslie: Yeah.
Can’t get in.
>>And then…
Just using this.
>>Charslie: A device that costs
just 30 bucks to build.
[ Laughter ]
>>Get in.
All of the cars that are out
basically use the same
technology.
We’ve known about it for years,
and we’ve all thought it’s been
relatively secure.
But, unfortunately, pretty much
all vehicles have this same
defect.
>>Gill: Face-to-face with the
head of cybersecurity at GM.
>>Charslie: When you see this,
do you get nervous?
>>I get nervous any time
researchers show anything.
>>Gill: Shifting into the fast
lane.
This is your “Marketplace”.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>You’ll need to put this on.
>>Charslie: Just in case.
>>Just in case.
>>Gill: Detective Paul LaSalle
is taking us to a crime scene as
we dig deeper into the world of
electronic car theft.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Gill: You’ve already seen how
bad guys unlock your doors and
steal stuff using high-tech
devices.
Now we’re about to show you how
they unlock your engine to make
off with your entire car.
>>Going into North York.
There’s been a number of
occasions when stolen cars have
been at this warehouse.
>>Charslie: LaSalle works for
York Regional Police just north
of Toronto.
In the past two years his auto
theft squad has seen a rise in
electronic car theft.
>>There’s a place, so what
we’ll do, we’ll just park right
here and you can shoot through
the side window if you want.
There’s some containers there.
>>Charslie: Cars stolen using
those electronic devices, you
found some in containers just
like this.
>>Just like this.
>>Charslie: More than once
police have uncovered stolen
cars here ready to be shipped
overseas.
>>Nissan Quest.
>>Charslie: The containers
sometimes hold as many as four
vehicles.
Often with older cars in front,
hiding newer models destined for
countries like Nigeria.
So it sounds like some of
the thieves have caught up
to technology.
>>Absolutely.
>>Charslie: The technical
security elements.
>>Absolutely.
If there’s profit, people are
going to put the effort in to do
it right.
So is it getting easier?
For some, it is.
Because they’ve got the
technology to do it.
>>Charslie: Technology that’s
at work in this home
surveillance video LaSalle
gave us.
One thief enters the SUV through
the back door and lets the other
one in the front.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Gill: That thief is holding
some kind of electronic
device.
It isn’t long before he’s got it
started, and it’s another car
stolen.
>>Basically they’re getting
into the brains of the car and
getting the car to learn a new
key.
So the key that they bring to
the scene simply after an amount
of time that they need to
reprogram it, simply just
driving away.
>>Charslie: You have actually
got your hands on some of these
electronic devices?
>>Yep.
>>Charslie: Do you want to show
us some?
>>Uh, no.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: He won’t show us.
So we go looking for some of
those devices ourselves down the
road in Oakville, Ontario.
We’ve heard thieves are using
tools meant for legitimate
locksmiths.
Guys like Nic MacKay who’s
agreed to show us how they work.
Hey, Nic.
>>How’s it going?
>>Charslie: Great to meet you.
Thanks for helping us out.
So, your challenge, these keys
are going to stay in my pocket.
You got to get in this car, get
it going, get outta here.
>>Sounds good.
>>Charslie: All right. Show us
how it’s done.
I lock the doors while Nic gets
his equipment.
Nothing fancy.
To get into the car.
The big challenge is to get the
car going.
Ooh.
What is that?
>>This is the MBB Pro.
It’s a key programmer.
>>Charslie: This key programmer
allows Nic to talk to the car’s
computer.
So I’ve got the keys, Nic.
What are you going to do?
>>I have an unprogrammed key.
Same thing.
See, it doesn’t work the car at
all.
I’m going to basically tell the
car to accept this as a new key.
>>Charslie: It’s the same
method thieves are using.
Plug the programmer into the
car’s diagnostic port, find the
right make and model, and reset
the car’s immobilizer.
>>The immobilizer is what stops
anyone from just coming in with
any key, starting it up and
going away.
>>Charslie: Nic’s key
programmer cost thousands,
but there are plenty of cheaper
knockoffs on sites like eBay
that claim to work the same way.
Do you think this kind of stuff
could work?
>>Yes.
Absolutely.
It’s actually really
disappointing that they’re
selling this stuff on eBay,
because eBay won’t even sell
lock picks as they are
classified as burglary tools.
Anyone who is on the internet
buying key programming software
on eBay, more than likely
not legitimate.
>>Charslie: eBay tells us
selling key programmers could
violate their policies.
They remove the listings we
showed them and will investigate
others.
After about 15 minutes, the car
is ready for a new key.
>>Going to add this one in.
Still in its packaging.
>>Charslie: Not all fobs work
the same, but they can all be
reprogrammed like this.
>>I’m going to put this key up
here.
You’re going to hear a little
chirp, and this key is tied to
it.
There we go.
Just like that.
>>Charslie: That’s it.
Key programmed.
>>Yep.
>>Charslie: You can start this
car?
>>Absolutely.
>>Charslie: Prove it.
Get outta here.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: Now that cars are
crammed with so much
electronics…
Car companies are in a race to
keep them secure from thieves.
>>It’s a big catchup game.
What needs to be done is they
need to get on top of it quick.
>>Charslie: And from hackers.
>>Hopefully this will alert
manufacturers to actually
resolve this issue now that we
understand more about
potentially what those attackers
were doing.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: It was a GM car
that Samy hacked.
So we’re crossing into Detroit
to find out what General Motors
thinks about it.
Jeff Massimilla is head of
cybersecurity for GM.
He says he wants to hear from
the hackers.
So we show him Samy’s work.
>>Can’t get in.
>>And then…
I just use this.
>>I guess what I would say is I
would love to work with Samy
more on this.
The idea of that attack is
pretty interesting.
Maybe not a real-world type of
activity, but could be applied
in a real-world way which is why
we need to get out in front of
that stuff.
>>Charslie: When you see this,
do you get nervous?
>>I get nervous any time
researchers show anything.
Researchers are very smart.
In cybersecurity it’s a very
interesting thing.
Cybersecurity experts have to be
right a hundred percent of the
time.
Researchers or attackers have to
be right once.
It’s a challenge every industry
faces.
>>Charslie: One of the police
officer we had worked with, he
was telling us if thieves can
figure out a way to make money
stealing cars, they’re going to
do it pretty quick.
The automotive industry in order
to fix it, it’s going to cost
them money so it could take them
a little longer.
What do you make of that?
>>Safety and security of our
customers are the highest
priority.
This is top of mind for General
Motors.
So I don’t agree with that
statement at the most principled
level from our perspective of
the safety and security of our
customers is our highest
priority.
>>Charslie: GM is the first big
car company to openly invite
hackers to find flaws in its
vehicles.
Massimilla says they’ve already
fixed some things as a result.
How worried should car owners be
about the threat of
cyberattacks?
>>Car owners should know that
their vehicles are safe.
That’s the number one most
important thing.
And absolutely everything like
this, anything that we see, we
learn more about it and we
address it.
[ ♪♪ ]
>>Charslie: If you’re not
convinced, there are steps you
can take in the meantime.
And none of them are that
high-tech.
Like a lock for your steering
wheel, and a lock for your
diagnostic port.
Anything that will slow a thief
down.
>>Time is risk.
And risk is something they don’t
want to do.
>>Charslie: And, even better,
listen to some guys who have
been there.
So, what lesson did you learn
from that?
>>Can we show you?
>>Charslie: Sure.
Show me.
>>You want to lock your car,
you press that magic button.
>>Press the button.
No more signal.
>>And you close the door.
>>Just like that.
Never again with the fob.
>>Gill: Learn how to outsmart
car thieves and share your tips
at facebook.com/cbcmarketplace.


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