NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – A recent car theft by a Hermitage man has exposed the weaknesses of modern vehicle security systems. Andrew Tirito’s troubles began when his car windshield was shattered in late June.
This incident marked the beginning of a chain of events that led to his Dodge Charger being stolen. He said that while he was inside his apartment, the thieves managed to steal his car, with the keys in hand.
“When the keys were lying idle in my apartment, they intercepted my key fob signal. They copied my key fob, broke the window again, then uploaded their copied fob to my system and were able to access my vehicle by erasing my keys from the database,” Tirito said.
Things take a surprising turn when Tirito receives a call from the Crossville police, informing them that their car has been stolen and is in police custody.
He traveled to East Tennessee to pick it up and discovered that his keys did not work, requiring a towing operation to Mount Juliet.
Determined to prevent future theft attempts, Tirito took proactive steps to protect his car.
He shared, “I have implemented the use of a Faraday box where I keep my keys; it is equipped with RFID (radio frequency identification) blocking material. This prevents my fob from emitting a signal.”
Additionally, Tirito added a boot, a steering wheel bar and surveillance cameras to enhance the safety of his car.
The issue cost Tirito around $3,000 in damages and expenses. Despite being familiar with such situations through his profession, Tirito is still surprised that the thieves were so complex.
Tirito said, “I deal with this a lot in my job, so I’m prepared to deal with tragedies like this, but having this happen in person was wild.”
Nathan Dunn, general manager of Cartronics, weighs in on the matter, shedding light on the tactics adopted by these tech-savvy thieves.
Dunn believes the criminals hacked the vehicle’s computer system to generate new keys and gain unauthorized entry. He suggests countering this threat by installing a special interrupt system.
“This system intercepts all communication over the database network between the car’s computers, preventing the coding of new keys or any unauthorized start attempts. The car can only be unlocked by the owner using their phone, Bluetooth identification, or a specified code.” can be done.” Dunn explained.
In addition to hacking techniques, thieves also resort to a method called “relay attack”. This tactic involves two individuals working together: one stands near the target vehicle, while the other uses a device to intercept signals from the key fob, allowing the car to be started.
To counter this threat, experts recommend using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) patches or boxes to prevent signal interception.
Tirito is grateful to have his car back. He hopes others with push button ignitions will take proactive steps to prevent their cars from being stolen.
According to Metro Police dataIn the last 3 weeks, 259 vehicles have been stolen.