A car thief was caught on camera using a small computer to pilfer a 2010 Jeep Wrangler parked in its owner's driveway. The video shows a man entering the Wrangler and after a few minutes on the laptop, driving away in the vehicle. According to the Wall Street Journal, Houston police believe the same method could have been used on four other occasions involving late-model Wranglers and Cherokees.
While the short clip looks like something out of a movie, this isn't the first time a Jeep has been hacked. The theft took the pair of thieves roughly 13 minutes from the time the first person opens the hood (not shown) to when the car leaves the driveway. Alarmingly, the Houston police department isn't sure what the laptop is being used for, the Journal reports.
A Fiat Chrysler official told the newspaper that the thieves in the Houston incident might be using tools that only dealers have access to, which would allow them to pair another key fob to the vehicle. While that explains how they got into the vehicle, it still doesn't explain how a laptop could be used to get the vehicle running – especially when automakers (Fiat Chrysler, Tesla, and General Motors) have altered their cars' electronics to reduce hacking.
Theft rates have dropped by 96 percent since 1990, according to The New York Times, but recent events show thieves are making their own advances, prompting increased cyber protection efforts from automakers, auto-parts suppliers, and the government. It will come into focus later this month when US Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx, Lyft CEO and co-founder Logan Green, and General Motors' chairman and CEO Mary Barra speak at a cybersecurity summit in Detroit.