FCA believes thieves aren't getting into Jeeps with laptops

It's not strictly hacking, it's recoding blank keyfobs, says FCA.

Last week, we reported on an incident where thieves stole a 2010 Jeep Wrangler from an owner's driveway in Houston, TX with nothing but a laptop. While the security footage made it seem like the perpetrator hacked into the vehicle, we had a conversation with FCA's senior manager of security architecture Titus Melnyk who set the record straight. According to Melnyk, the thief in the video isn't using the laptop to get into the vehicle, but rather as a means of coding a blank key fob and then using that fob to get into the Jeep.

According to Melnyk, the suspects have gained access to a key programming tool, which allows them to pair blank key fobs to FCA vehicles. With the key fob now coded, the suspects can get into the vehicle and drive away. The thieves, believes Melnyk, have acquired the programming tool through a dishonest dealership or locksmith. Since the suspects are using a process designed to be used (honestly) by dealers, FCA doesn't consider this to be hacking and believes that there are no security flaws in the vehicles.

How are the thieves getting key fobs? While Melnyk believes it is possible to recode an existing key fob, he points out that it's much easier to purchase a blank key fob on Ebay for less than $25. FCA is working closely with the Houston Police Department to apprehend the suspects.

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