Car thieves are more sophisticated as vehicles today offer more connectivity and technology. Hacking methods to jam key fobs, prevent doors from locking, or make them unlock are employed by thieves. Signal intercept devices capture and replay unlock codes, while power amplifiers relay the signal from a key fob at a distance.
These methods allow unwanted individuals access to your vehicle. From there, a thief will reprogram your car with a new key and steal it.
“The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) was the first to alert the public to the potential danger posed by new technology allowing thieves to unlock vehicles with what have come to be known as mystery devices,” said NICB Chief Operating Officer Jim Schweitzer.
According to Schweitzer, automakers do not have a permanent solution and that creates an opportunity for thieves.
“Despite significant progress by manufacturers over the past two decades in anti-theft technology, we know that thieves are always busy trying to develop new ways to thwart those systems,” he said.
Voyomotive LLC, an automotive technology company, developed a new application to reduce vehicle theft. The Lockdown app works with Voyo’s Controller and Relay technology as an add-on to their Premium Pack services. Lockdown helps prevent car hacking and theft.
The app works through a smartphone on vehicles 1996 or newer. Voyo Controller and Relay authenticate Lockdown and require the authorized cell phone to be present and connected via Bluetooth for the engine to run. If the phone is not nearby to disarm the Lockdown app, the car will not start.
Other security measures are in place too.
“If a thief attempts to enter a car, Lockdown will blare the car horn and flash the lights,” said Peter Yorke, CEO of Voyomotive. “Once the hacker unlocks the doors, the app repeatedly relocks the doors.”
Voyo offers a number of smartphone based automotive features like door lock and unlock, immobilization, tracking, and diagnostics. Lockdown is included in the $30.00 USD per year Premium Services pack and will be released in the 3rd quarter of this year.
“It is important that owners have options available to protect their vehicles and we encourage efforts to provide reasonable and reliable alternatives for the consumer,” Schweitzer said.
*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.