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Car thieves are hacking and stealing Jeeps

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Remember those halcyon days when car thieves had to actually work to steal your car by cutting a few wires or jamming a screwdriver into the ignition? Well kiss them goodbye, because the dude boosting your new baby is going high tech.

According to Engadget, which picked up the news from ABC13 in Houston, a pair of alleged car thieves was using nothing more than a laptop and a special type of software to steal Jeep and Dodge vehicles over the past several months.

A video of one of the incidents provided by ABC13 shows one of the alleged crooks breaking into a vehicle, plugging in a laptop with software that can start the car and then taking off without incident.

The duo is accused of stealing about 30 vehicles in the same way and driving them across the border to Mexico.

This isn’t the first time Jeep and Dodge’s parent company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has run into trouble with hackers. Last year, Wired reported that hackers had proven they could disable a Jeep’s transmission on the highway through the car’s on-board internet connection.

This year, those same hackers revealed to Wired that they could further compromise a vehicle by controlling its steering and accelerator. Fortunately, the hackers had to plug into the car to take it over, but still, it’s a troubling and worrisome problem.

Obviously, the thieves in the Houston case weren’t interested in taking over another driver’s vehicle just to crash it. But the fact remains, if our vehicles are going to continue to transform into giant rolling smartphones, automakers are going to have to work harder to ensure they’re as secure as possible.

Via: Engadget, ABC13, Wired

Email Dan Howley at dhowley@yahoo-inc.com; follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.