Savvy Car Theft - Should we all be concerned?

by MuminBusiness

Stealing a car is getting more complicated but people with the right technical skills may just be able to master it.

Have you ever wondered just how safe your car is these days? Particularly if you succumbed to the appeal of a bright new shiny, all singing and dancing monster of a car. There are so many new electronic concepts being introduced into cars that one would think security would also be considered to be of paramount importance. However, this article did make me wonder.

The Two main ways to Steal a Car in Yesteryears

There are so many ways to steal a car these days, We should really all be slightly nervous. 

Once upon a time, you had two ways to steal a car

  1. You could physically coerce someone into stopping the car for you when they were driving – for instance you could pretend to be helpless on the side of the road, or pretend to have a car malfunction and then as soon as anyone stopped for you, you would physically throw them out and take their car, leaving them on the side of the road.
  2. The other way was to steal a car was to break into it probably through the window, do some fancy jiggery-pokery with a few wires under the steering wheel and hey presto, you were on your way (at least it seemed that simple watching the movies!). 

Immobilizers and SatNavs

Then immobilizers were introduced.

A car thief might decide to go with option 1 above which would still work as long as you used the correct key in the ignition. 

Option 2 however became impossible as without the correct key or fob in the ignition; the fuel pump is disabled preventing a thief from actually getting the engine started.  It also has prevented many a careless owner from getting their own car started - not so great!

As time progressed, we also had  Satellite navigation systems (SatNav or GPS systems) either as separate gadgets or included in the fabric of the dashboard.  Amazing stuff, now I no longer required paper maps to get me places.  

The Downside of SatNavs

If a car thief managed to steal your car, he could also burgle your home as most people would store their home address on the SatNav which meant you only had to press a button to be directed home from wherever you were - Great for you.  

Unfortunately, the gadget is not discerning so the car thief could also find his way to your home.

I learnt this the hard way when I left my GPS in full view on the passenger seat (Silly me!).  I returned to the car to find that the window had been broken to access the SatNav.  I then spent a sleepless few nights scared that these thieves would eventually find their way to my house, thankfully they did not but that certainly dissuaded me from using the home function accurately.  Home on my SatNav now points to the centre of my fairly long road.

Bid on Garmin 1695

Car Security now and in the future

Now, we have security systems in the car that make it possible to start or stop a car remotely. The electronics are used as well to control things like the throttle, the brakes and more.  As a result of the introduction of things like GPS systems and bluetooth into cars, they are now susceptible to outside influence, just the same as any open access point!  Take a look at this article.

So, now all you need to steal a car is a tech-savvy, immoral friend and most new cars could be yours for the taking. 

A scary proposal, I think.  Maybe, we should all just go back to using steering wheel locks.  Hopefully, by the time any thief saws through that, the police might have arrived on the scene regardless of the thief's fancy tech skills.

Maybe there is more to it than that - but what do I know about cars, I am just female.  :-)

Updated: 02/18/2012, MuminBusiness
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MuminBusiness on 02/20/2012

No, neither would I (the flashy car) unless of course I DO actually have more money than I know what to do with!! :-D

Thanks for reading!

Pinkchic18 on 02/20/2012

You have some great points here. I'm now switching the home function too, that is smart to do. I agree with @BrendaReeves - I would never drive a flashy car or anything like that because it just screams 'I have more money than I know what to do with' which is probably the reason I wouldn't own one in the first place ;) lol I definitely do not have that much money!

MuminBusiness on 02/19/2012

I think that is a great idea. So far the older cars we own are easier to get repaired. The electronics included these days in cars just make them more awkward to repair without going directly to the main supplier. In terms of security, older cars are just not attractive enough, I agree. I can never justify the purchase price for a new flashy car that reduces in value immediately!

BrendaReeves on 02/19/2012

I always buy cars that nobody would want to steal. I would never ever drive a big flashy car.

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