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By | John Leyden 9th May 2006 21:55

Stealing cars: have laptop, will travel

It could be yours in just 20 mins

Thieves with laptops are able to steal cars in around 20 minutes by breaking the software locks used in modern keyless entry systems.

These systems require only the presence of a key fob to start engines. Without secondary mechanical protection devices it then becomes possible for thieves to lift cars, providing they have skills more commonly associated with locksmiths.

"It’s difficult to steal cars with complex security, but not impossible. There are weaknesses in any system," Tim Hart of the Auto Locksmith Association told Auto Express magazine. "At key steps the car’s software can halt progress for up to 20 minutes as part of its in-built protection."

Specialist car site reckons that tech-savvy crooks who stole two of David Beckham’s BMW X5 SUVs in the last six months used software programs to crack access codes, open doors and start their engines. Since cars use radio systems to transmit data between components it may be possible for crackers to break into cars without physically connecting laptops into systems.

There's more on the story at leftlanenews here. ®

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