We are clearly entering a new era in auto theft, and it is one where techy individuals can use their knowledge to ‘hack’ into cars, when it comes to stealing them. In fact, more recently, a hackers’ duo was able to break into and steal over 30 cars in and around the Houston region, in a six-month time frame. The two culprits were arrested last week, while trying to snag yet another car.
MSN reported that car hacking seems to be in the arise as of late, especially as it relates to Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) models. In fact, in 2015, a Jeep Cherokee was hacked into from Pittsburgh, where the vehicle was physically located in St. Louis, MI. For this and many other reasons, Nissan closed its Leaf application recently, because it left its cars too vulnerable to such incidents.
Houston police had been hot on the trails of Jesse Zelay and Michael Arcce for a number of months, but were not able to catch them in the act, until last week. The hacking team used their laptops to start the cars they were stealing, however it is unclear at this time on just how they hacked into the vehicles; whether they used USB, OBD II, of software related to the UConnect infotainment debacle that occurred in 2015.
Last April, video from a surveillance camera provided footage on a theft of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited; this was the first piece of evidenced that helped police find Zelay and Arcee. They started to follow and record the actions of the two, afterward, and were able to capture the two in the in act, and nail them. Now, both individuals have been charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. To boot, the police have laid an addition charge of felon in possession of weapon, with intent to deliver a controlled substance, to Arcee’s long list of charges.
Since these incidents, Homeland Security is looking into over 100 FCA models they seem to think were stolen, using the same hacked software. After they were stolen, the cars were taken to Mexico. FCA is holding an investigation internally, regarding the situation.