Car hacking: Is your car safe?

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

According to London’s Metropolitan Police Service, half of the car thefts in the UK capital last year were car hackings. There were approximately 21,000 cars stolen in London in 2013 with a total of 68,000 broken into.

CAN Hacking Tool

The thieves have now started using a high-tech gadget known as the CAN Hacking tool (CHT), which costs just £12 online. The tool can be fitted to a car’s controller network within minutes to run a malicious code through the vehicle or jam the central locking signal in order to gain control of the lights, locks, steering and the brakes.

The tool can be used to target any car with an onboard computer. The vast majority of modern car makes have onboard computers; in fact, most vehicles have up to 80 computers to power the navigation, brakes and locking.

Experts are warning that this tool could cause an increase in motor thefts after several years of decline in the crime.

Stay secure

The Metropolitan Police recommends drivers add extra security using steering locks and car tracking devices. If you can, you should also store your car in the garage or park it in a safe area.

It is also advised to keep your car well maintained, as this can be off-putting for a car thief. Meanwhile, valuables should be removed from sight and remember to always lock your car doors and test the handles before you walk away. You can also install a quick release car wheel to ensure your car can not be driven away if broken into.

The Metropolitan Police Service is currently working with manufacturers to improve this problem.