New video has emerged showing a gang of crooks making off with a BMW 1 Series M Coupe in under two minutes, simply by creating their own key fob.
The video appears to show the group smashing the window on the driver’s side and exploiting a gap in the alarm’s proximity sensor to access the ODB-II communications port without tripping the alarm. They then connect a reprogramming device to the port which they use to create a usable BMW key fob.
The newly-created key allows them to deactivate the alarm and open the door. The three stooges then push the car off the property so as not to arouse suspicions, before making a getaway. The entire crime lasts less than a couple of minutes.
According to the chap whose car was stolen, this is not an isolated event. He claims over 300 BMW cars have been stolen in March 2012 in the UK alone.
He also, via the 1addicts.com forum, links to YouTube videos that show how easy it is for a determined thief to acquire the sort of gizmos involved in the theft of his car. One videos shows a man using an Edilock ODB-II key programming device to reprogram a blank key. Other videos show alternative devices being used to unlock a BMW X6 and a BMW 1 Series.
This sort of crime raises several issues. Firstly, should ODB-II ports be encrypted to discourage thieves gaining almost unrestricted access to our cars? A simpler solution might be to move the ports to a position in the car where access will definitely trigger the motion sensors, or to seclude the ports behind a flap that triggers the alarm.
Sadly, neither of these solutions are likely to stop determined thieves, who have plenty of other devious tricks up their sleeves — not least simply lifting the car onto a flat bed lorry and making their getaway.
Here’s hoping the criminals who did this, and any others that follow in their footsteps, get what’s coming to them.