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$30 gadget will let thief steal your car

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    High-end cars can be overcome with on-board diagnostic tools that are available over the internet for as little as $30.

A $30 hand-held device will bypass your car's immobiliser or reprogram a new key.

Cutting-edge crooks with the devices -- sold online for as little as $30 -- are making short work of the modern standard in car security, helping drive a "diabolical" spike in vehicle heists in Queensland. 

Thieves are using the devices to thwart immobilisers in cars previously considered "unstealable", as vehicle theft numbers leapt more than a quarter in the year to March. A handful of car makers remain a step ahead of car theft rackets straddling automotive trades and organised crime, but the most popular car brands remain vulnerable, locksmiths and theft investigators said. 

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council knows of thieves overcoming Land Cruiser immobilisers in 12 seconds. NSW police footage shows one thief stealing a Toyota Rav4 in 14 seconds, and online videos show even BMW security codes can be reprogrammed to a new key in minutes.

High-end cars can be overcome with on-board diagnostic tools (OBDs) that are available from China and Eastern Europe over the internet for as little as $30. Customs in NSW recently seized a black-market manual on how to bypass immobilisers, with blank luxury car keys.

Detective Inspector Darryl Charleson said the Queensland Police Vehicle Theft Unit had no intelligence on OBDs but thieves "obviously have ways to get around that mechanism".

But Theft Reduction Council chief Ray Carroll said sophisticated thieves using OBDs were becoming common. "Not long ago insurers were safe in saying a car with an Australian-standard immobiliser that was stolen without the keys was potential fraud," he said.

"Now you can't really say that because there's good evidence where OBDs are able with a bit of black-market software to recode the immobiliser module to a key you've brought along."

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 8 comments

  • What article doesn't state is that these devices still need a (the)correct key to engage the wafers in the ignition barrel. It is not possible to steal the car with this device alone therefore making this artcle very misleading

    Expat of Brisbane Posted on 15 April 2014 12:14pm
  • Thanks for the tips

    Jackson of Strath field Posted on 12 December 2012 5:15am
  • What a great idea, let everyone know how to do it, then any of the bored and brave teenagers have a crack at steeling a car!! By giving a full description and cost of how its done, the media is essentially printing a "dummies guide to stealing a car". what is wrong with saying that its happening, but don't give the how to guide. Next you know there will be sponsored adverts from the business's that sell the OBD unit and new blank remotes!!

    Will of Brisbane Posted on 06 December 2012 10:53am
  • where did you finde this for less then 30 $???? in costs 8000 €...

    slavik Posted on 15 November 2012 12:12pm
  • And yet you will be charged hundreds of $'s to have a replacement immobiliser remote made by dealers /ocksmiths.....that's another robbery, but legal.

    mikef56 of Sydney Posted on 21 October 2012 9:46am
  • You still have to bypass the steering lock and although it's not hard to do so, it will leave telltale evidence that will determine weather it is a genuine theft or fraud. Interrogating the security system will also tell you the last key used in the vehicle

    kevin of hunter valley Posted on 28 August 2012 9:23pm
  • I don't understand why BMW leaves the OBD port live when the car is turned off, this is like leaving MS Windows unlocked and then wondering why somebody went online shopping on your laptop.

    Bernard of Sydney Posted on 27 August 2012 2:47pm
  • Back before immoilisers we would secure our car with a club lock on the steering wheel.

    Clarke of Brisbane Posted on 22 August 2012 7:59pm
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