High-tech equipment, about 5 minutes of work… Luxury car theft “amazing newest trick”. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

High-tech equipment, about 5 minutes of work… Luxury car theft “amazing newest trick”.

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The suspect, Watanabe, committed the crime using the latest equipment. He is still under investigation for dozens of other crimes.

A thief who used a new method of hacking into the computer systems of luxury cars has been arrested.

The suspects, Koji Watanabe, 38, a self-employed man, and Tetsuko Narabe, 46, an unemployed woman, were arrested on October 6 by a joint investigation team of the Saitama Prefectural Police’s Investigation Section 3 and others, and are suspected of stealing a Toyota Lexus worth 3.5 million yen from a monthly parking lot in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture on April 14, 2009. The car was locked.

The car was locked, but the thieves used a special electronic device from outside the car to hack into the car’s computer system. It appears that they hijacked the system, unlocked the car, started the engine, and took the car away. Watanabe was also arrested and charged in May of this year for another theft. He is believed to have dozens of other crimes, and the prefectural police are carefully investigating.

On his way to the police station, he took one look at the photographer. He got into the convoy without saying a word.

The electronic device used in this crime is called a “CAN Invader. The number of crimes involving this latest device has been increasing over the past few years. Automotive journalist Kumiko Kato explains.

Not so long ago, a method called ‘relay attack’ was the mainstream method of luxury car theft. In recent years, an increasing number of car keys emit radio waves that can be unlocked by simply touching the door, but this technique is used to steal cars in parking lots by amplifying or even relaying the weak radio waves. However, since theft can be prevented by blocking the radio waves emitted from the key, people began to take countermeasures such as placing the car in a metal case, and the ‘relay attack’ rapidly became unacceptable.

This is where the “CAN Invader” came in. This is a hacking electronic device that uses the radio waves emitted from the key as in the relay attack, but instead connects to the wiring from outside the car by removing the bumper, etc., and hacks into the computer system that controls the car’s operation. The tool can be used to steal several cars a day, Kato continues. Kato continues, “The existence of the CAN Invaders is a great help to us.

We discovered the existence of CAN Invaders four or five years ago. There was a Lexus that was stolen even though it had a ‘relay attack’ countermeasure. We were lucky enough to find the car, and Toyota kept it for a month or two to investigate the cause. Then we found out that it had been stolen by a method that had never been done before. That was the “CAN Invader. At that time, there was a great deal of concern among the manufacturers. It is said that there was a big fuss among manufacturers at the time, saying, ‘All new types of Toyota cars will be stolen in this way,’ and it is still quite difficult to actually prevent theft.”

The number of car thefts had been declining from 2020 to 2021, possibly due to difficulties in human traffic and logistics with overseas countries due to the new Corona, but it has been rising sharply since the beginning of this year. According to the National Police Agency, the number of car thefts from January to August this year was 3,805, already up from 3,286 during the same period last year. There is a disturbing fact that the number of thefts is expected to increase even more.

In fact, “CAN Invader” can be purchased by anyone on an overseas website. I also inquired on that site for an interview, ‘Can you ship to Japan? I asked the site, “Can you ship to Japan? I received a reply saying, ‘We have sent it to Japan many times in the past.

In fact, a visit to the website showed that a “CAN Invader” identical to the one used in this case was on sale for just under 900,000 yen. It further states that “Toyota/Lexus: All new 2015-2021 models with Smart Key 88, A8, A9, AA are supported,” and even encloses detailed instructions.

One way to prevent this is to have a highly accurate burglar alarm installed, which is available at car security stores. It is also effective to keep several GPS or Apple’s “Air Tags,” loss prevention tags, in the car.

In August of this year, five people were arrested in a luxury car theft ring believed to have used “CAN Invader.” Approximately 200 luxury cars are believed to have been stolen, and the damage is estimated to be worth more than 1 billion yen. Serious action is needed.

  • Photo Shinji Hasuo

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