Many car thieves today are far more sophisticated and technologically savvy than their predecessors. As vehicles contain more and more computer components that control many different aspects of the vehicle, thieves are learning to take advantage of holes in that technology through hacking. Hacking can eliminate the effectiveness of your car alarm and make car security more difficult in general. Many, including expensive vehicles, have been stolen due to thieves cloning the keys through the vehicle’s OBD II port.
What is the OBD II Port?
Vehicles made after 1996 will contain an OBD II port. These ports are computer diagnostic systems that can help to make it easier for mechanics to know more about the vehicle in for repair. They can use the system as a means to get information about it, and which will help them to diagnose problem areas. The port is usually located under the steering wheel. The mechanics make use of a high-quality OBD reader to access this information. These readers are available in repair shops and at dealerships.
However, it is not the expensive readers that should worry you when it comes to your car security. Instead, it is the cheap OBD readers that have become readily available to the general public. While these might not be as sophisticated as the ones that are used by a mechanic, they work in much the same way. It can provide anyone with access to vehicle information that should be secure and private. These devices tend to be quite cheap, as well. They often cost less than $100.
How Could a Thief Use This Technology?
The use of these devices make it very simple for thieves to be able to clone a car key, and a cloned key would be able to bypass car anti-theft devices that you might have in place. However, even though the process itself is easy, it is difficult for thieves to be able to access the port, but still possible.
For example, thieves might break into the vehicle to gain access to the port. While this could set off an alarm if they break one of the main windows, thieves have ways of getting around the car alarm. They might break through the corner of a side window using the end of a spark plug. In some cases, this will not trigger an alarm at all. Even if an alarm does trigger, few people today tend to pay very much attention to car alarms. For many people, they become a part of the background noise. Nowadays, thieves are even using more advanced break-in methods to access the OBDII port, one of the most popular ones being jamming technology that enables easy access to a vehicle without any physical damage.
The thieves might have access to your vehicle in other circumstances, which can allow them to use the reader. Any time that your vehicle is out of your hands, such as at a shop for repairs, getting a car wash, or you are simply in a parking lot, it could be at risk. Sometimes, a car might appear as if it were broken into, but it wasn’t stolen. The thieves might have only taken what was in your glove compartment. However, they might also have used a reader to access your car’s data, which they plan to use later.
Regardless of how they get it, once they are in the vehicle, it is an easy matter to connect their advanced reader to the OBD II port. This allows them to get information about your vehicle, including the unique car key code. It will take just seconds to get this information, which will then provide the thief will full access. They can then drive away, and you won’t know until you come out to find your car missing.
It will allow them to bypass the alarm systems in the vehicle, so no one will know that there is anything amiss. It is possible for thieves to troll a range of different neighborhoods and find vehicles that are easy for them to steal when they are using these advanced technologies to obtain vehicles.
How to Make Your Vehicle Safer
Because the thieves will need to have access to your vehicle to get this information, you will want to make sure that you keep it in a safe location whenever possible. Consider keeping it in a garage if you have one available. You will want to make sure there is lighting in your driveway, as well. Motion lighting can be a good option that is affordable and effective at making thieves think twice before trying to get into your vehicle.
Lighting alone might not be as effective as you might like, as lights could be destroyed or disabled. Having a full security system on your property, including a system that features cameras, can help to deter thieves. If you have a security system, make sure you have signs that indicate as much. This way, the thieves that see them will know that it is too large of a risk to attempt to steal your car.
Also, you can add some protection for the vehicle just in case someone were to get this information and take your car. A GPS tracker, such as CarLock, can be a fantastic option. CarLock will enable you to be alerted through your phone whenever your vehicle moves or there is any strange and unusual activity in it, for example. Being alerted to problems like this allows you to contact the authorities. Having a GPS car tracker can make it possible to recover your vehicle in the event it is stolen. CarLock can even be armed/disarmed via the phone app, so it will instantly let you know if someone is tampering with your vehicle. What is more, it is designed to plug directly into the OBDII port and provides the “device disconnected” notification as soon as it is removed, which comes especially handy in the event of the OBD port theft attempt.
Be Aware of the Dangers to Your Vehicle
Car theft happens more often than many people realize. There are more than 600,000 vehicles stolen each year in the United States alone. By understanding more about how thieves work and the techniques and tactics they use, it becomes possible to learn how you can better protect your vehicle. Just because you feel that you live in a safe neighborhood, or that you are in a location where car theft is not common doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to you. Instead of becoming a victim, it is time that you started to take action to give your car the added protections that it needs. There is no such thing as being too prepared.
Check if CarLock will work with your car HERE.