British Ingenuity Unplugs Cyber Car Criminals


Efforts to eradicate the growing nationwide problem of keyless car theft have moved into top gear thanks to the launch of a pioneering ‘anti-hack’ device, that’s been developed by an Oxfordshire business.

Over a year in development and having been subjected to months of rigorous testing, the non-invasive, tamper-proof system is the brainchild of Banbury based automotive security innovation firm, On Board Defence and is the first of its kind to achieve certification from Thatcham Research, the UK motor insurers’ research centre.

Designed to prevent vehicles being stolen without the owner’s key, the signal-blocking PORTECTOR stops ‘electronic compromise’ by disabling the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) port. The data access point is meant for vehicle technicians to perform diagnostic maintenance but thieves can use it to plug into a car’s computer system in order to programme a blank key or bypass the immobiliser.

According to published figures from the Office for National Statistics, theft of a motor vehicle has increased by 1%, from 75,308 year ending March 2014 to 75,809 year ending March 2015, which is a sudden reverse in the trend for declining vehicle theft over the past two decades. Equally, statistics published by Thatcham in 2014 suggest that, for the first time in 20 years, insurance payouts to victims of vehicle theft have gone up. This is attributable to organised criminal gangs stealing cars to order for the international black market, as well as breaking them up for resale as second hand parts.
The irony of this situation is that EU legislation introduced to create a level playing field for the service and repair of vehicles by franchised and independent garages, has contributed to an online boom in diagnostic equipment for both legitimate and fraudulent purposes. Hand-held devices made specifically for stealing cars are widely available on the web but it’s not illegal to buy or sell them. This has given criminals carte blanche to acquire sophisticated electronic attack tools with ease, leaving millions of vehicles vulnerable. By removing the ability to communicate with the vehicle through the OBD port, we now have a proven method of stopping thieves dead in their tracks.
Paul Chase, Managing Director of On Board Defence.

Matthew Wright, Head of Commercial Services at Thatcham Research added:
The methods may have grown more sophisticated but the fight against vehicle crime remains a top priority. On Board Defence should be congratulated for producing a robust aftermarket solution to add to the multi-layered industry approach to OBD protection.
In certain London boroughs, annual vehicle theft has risen by as much as 23%, according to Metropolitan Police statistics and such is the volume of theft of particular premium models, anecdotal evidence suggests that some insurers will not underwrite policies for selected vehicles in certain areas of the capital, deemed to be at high risk, unless they are parked in garages or other secured locations.

2 Comments

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  1. Hi
    I doubt the above will make much if any difference to car theft. I'm an auto locksmith. I run an auto locksmith business in West and North Yorkshire and have done for a number of years. My work involves breaking into vehicles, cutting new keys and programming them to the vehicle (when the customer has lost all keys) spare keys and even rescuing children from locked cars etc etc...
    I've picked up a lot of knowledge along the way and know most cars are stolen. If the Editor would like me to shine some light on this I would be happy to do so?
    Regards
    Charlie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi
    My name is Charlie and I run an auto locksmith business in West and North Yorkshire. I don't think the above will make much difference to the amount of cars being stolen. I did a post regarding this on my website. If anyone is interested I have added the link.
    http://www.lockiesautolocksmiths.co.uk/latest-news/lockies-auto-locksmiths-9/
    Kind regards
    Charlie
    Lockies Auto Locksmiths

    ReplyDelete

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