Police Arrested Hackers Group Exploiting Keyless Technology to Steal Cars

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The French authorities in cooperation with their Spanish and Latvian counterparts arrested 31 suspected to be part of a car theft ring which used fraudulent software to steal vehicles without using the physical key fob.

“The criminals’ targeted vehicles with keyless entry and start systems, exploiting the technology to get into the car and drive away”, said Europol.

This action was carried out on 10 October in the three countries, totally 22 locations were searched and more than EUR 1 098 500 in criminal assets seized.

NG Cyberspace Command Seizure Banner (Europol)

Criminals Targeted Keyless Vehicles

Reports say the criminals targeted cars that use keyless entry and start systems and stole them after exploiting their keyless technology to unlock the doors and start the engines without using the key fobs.

They targeted two French car manufacturers. A fraudulent tool, marketed as an automotive diagnostic solution, used to replace the original software of the vehicles. Along with those arrested feature the software developers, its resellers and the car thieves who used this tool to steal vehicles.

The French Gendarmerie’s Cybercrime Centre (C3N) initiated the investigation. The case was opened at Eurojust by the French authorities in September 2022.

The French National Gendarmerie (FNG) seized the domain for the fraudulent software used to hack the cars’ keyless tech. Europol didn’t provide any details on how the attackers managed to hack the keyless vehicles.

The National Jurisdiction against Organised Crime (JUNALCO), National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale), State Police of Latvia, and Spain: Investigative Court took part in the investigation.

Europol has also supported the investigation since March 2022 by providing intelligence and analysis support to the countries targeted by this criminal ring.