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RFID-enabled Vehicles: Pinch My Ride 429

Posted by Hemos
from the dude-where's-my-car dept.
Billosaur writes "Wired has an excellent article on the problems with the theft of RFID-enabled vehicles and how insurance companies are so over-confident in the technology, they are denying claims when such vehicles are stolen. Example: "Emad Wassef walked out of a Target store in Orange County, California, to find a big space where his 2003 Lincoln Navigator had been. The 38-year-old truck driver and former reserve Los Angeles police officer did what anyone would do: He reported the theft to the cops and called his insurance company. Two weeks later, the black SUV turned up near the Mexico border, minus its stereo, airbags, DVD player, and door panels. Wassef assumed he had a straightforward claim for around $25,000. His insurer, Chicago-based Unitrin Direct, disagreed." Their forensic examiner concluded that since all the keys were accounted for, there was no way the engine could have been started, despite the evidence that the ignition lock had been forced and the steering wheel locking lug had been damaged."
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RFID-enabled Vehicles: Pinch My Ride

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  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlackCobra43 (596714) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:39PM (#15818012)
    A local man who was the victim of a Home Invasion was shocked to learn that his insurance claim was denied because "As all of his home keys were still in his property, no one could have entered the house". Shard of broken glass, the robber's blood, his conviction in court and a lucky passerby's videotapes were also dismissed as "clever fakes". InsuranceCo stock jumped another 3 points today...
    • by CrazedWalrus (901897) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:51PM (#15818123) Journal
      ...which is what I really think is going on here, it's at least partly a classic case of turning off reasoning and common sense wherever technology is involved. The same amazingly intelligent people who can't operate the clock on the VCR are running the world and denying your claims.
      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:37PM (#15818534) Journal
        ...which is what I really think is going on here, it's at least partly a classic case of turning off reasoning and common sense wherever technology is involved.
        Or the insurance companies find it convienent to buy the tech hype, irregardless of whether they actually believe the system is undefeatable.

        Maybe the policy got set from up high: We do not pay out claims on immobilizer equipped cars unless they meet [X, Y, Z] criteria.

        Don't forget, there is always a disconnect between the Marketing Dept & the Engineers who design a security/safety system.

        You really wanna secure your car?
        Install a fuel cutoff switch somewhere non-obvious. Yes, it is security through obscurity, but most thieves don't have the time to troubleshoot a car that won't start.
        • Read "The Rainmaker" by John Grisham for an account of some of the dirty practices of insurance companies in denying claims.

          FTFA summary: "Their forensic examiner concluded that since all the keys were accounted for, there was no way the engine could have been started"

          Since when do you need the keys to steal a vehicle? And if all the keys WEREN'T accounted for, the claim would have been denied because "obviously the claimant was negligent and someone else got a key from them."

          • by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd.yahoo@com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:40PM (#15819185) Homepage Journal
            Insurance - especially car insurance, which one is required by law to carry - is forced extortion. I have seen denied claims, paid claims with increased premiums that beyond-covered the paid-out claim, my own insurance premiums rise after my car was hit while parked, etc., etc., etc.

            Insurance companies are evil, ladies and gentlemen, and will do everything in their power to stop from having to pay out a dime. While I'm now paying $35 copay for prescriptions through Aetna, they also have a new thing called "precertification" whereby the doctor has to call the insurance company and "approve" the use of a drug. Now, if the doctor hadn't wanted me to have the drug, I'm sure I wouldn't be at CVS with my prescription. Nonetheless, yet another roadblock to actual payout of insurance coverage.

            You think Pharma = evil? Check out insurance. Especially in the case of Katrina. Home insurance doesn't cover flood insurance. Flood insurance doesn't cover mud damage. Etc.

            Makes me sick.
            • >Insurance - especially car insurance, which one is required by law to carry - is forced extortion. I have seen denied claims, paid claims with increased premiums that beyond-covered the paid-out claim, my own insurance premiums rise after my car was hit while parked, etc., etc., etc.

              At the risk of nitpicking, in the four states where I've registered car insurance, only liability insurance was required. Comprehensive and collision coverage is not required by law, though it will be required by contract

            • My wife just had two tests done. One was a simple test for mono. It was billed at roughly $250.00. Insurance negotiated discount was $238.00. Total amount paid by the insurance company $12.00. You can bet your ass I would have paid a hell of alot more then $12 if I was paying cash. It's so insane...

              The other test was around $1200, with the insurance company only being charged $740 or so. I payed nothing but a $20 copay out of pocket, but the very fact that the system works this way is repugnant.
            • by Fastolfe (1470) on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:27PM (#15820195)
              ... paid claims with increased premiums that beyond-covered the paid-out claim

              The goal of bumping up your premium is not to compensate the insurance company. By having an accident, you have shown your insurance company that you are now in the class of people that have recently had an accident. Statistically speaking, you are more likely to have another accident than someone who has not recently had an accident. Your premium is adjusted to match their new information, not to compensate them for the amount they paid out.

              Once you are no longer in this class, your premium will drop back down. Your premium isn't dropping because you've "paid them back"; it's dropping because you are now in the class of people that haven't had an accident in a long time. Statistically speaking, you're less likely to have an accident than you were before, so your premium is adjusted.
    • Re:In other news (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pilgrim23 (716938)
      ever cracked open a hard drive? the super magnets inside are real hany for use on RFID equipped keys. they disable them rather quickly. SHHH! don't tell anyone.
  • DNA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chevman (786211) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:39PM (#15818013)
    This is similar to the assumption that if your DNA is present at a crimescene, you must by default be guilty.
    • Re:DNA (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You've watched Gattica one too many times. In the real world, people don't get convicted just because an eyelash fell out.

      If your DNA is found inside of a rape-victim's vagina, however, then yes, you probably are guilty.
      • Re:DNA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by damiangerous (218679) <1ndt7174ekq80001@sneakemail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:58PM (#15818183)
        If your DNA is found inside of a rape-victim's vagina, however, then yes, you probably are guilty.

        You're guilty of having sex with her around the time she was raped, yes. Is that enough to convict you of her rape? Not by a long shot.

    • Re:DNA (Score:3, Funny)

      by Shippy (123643) *
      If the glove don't fit, you must acquit!
  • by dfn_deux (535506) * <datsun510.gmail@com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:41PM (#15818030) Homepage
    Seems that there are at least a handful of commonly known/used methods for circumventing rfid embedded key/security systems in cars. Several of these are documented by the manufacturers of the cars. It is a ridiculous notion that if say all the keys to the car had been lost that it would then be impossible to somehow replace the keys or reprogram the system for another set. Any insurance company making such claims is obviously letting the smell of money overwhelm their senses and has overlooked what is quite simply the fact of the matter...

    The man in the headline should clearly be bending his insurer over a barrel and giving them a good legal fucking...

    • And none of these methods involve breaking the steering column as well as take some serious planning as well as obtaining manufacuring codes.
      • The steering lock is a mechanical device, which requires either a key or something to break it with before you can turn the wheel. Since all keys were accounted for, the only way to steal the car is to break the steering lock (and, of course, fool the RFID reader). No conspiracy here.
      • by dfn_deux (535506) * <datsun510.gmail@com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:55PM (#15818159) Homepage
        Actually all of these methods require the steering column to be opened in order to disable the steering lock detent mechanism. And they do require preplanning, but if you are targetting a specific make/model fo car then the planning isn't too difficult. It is foolish to assume that theives are just going about this willy nilly and stealing in the heat of the moment when they are overcome with desire. Often times thefts are carried out by highly organized gangs with the specific intent of picking specific targets with high resale of stolen parts and then carrying out well planned thefts where-in their chances of getting caught are signifigantly lowered and their probability of getting a big pay day are likewise raised.

        Tis a foolish man who assumes that dishonesty goes hand in hand with stupidity (and vice versa for that matter) high technology secuirty systems just encourage theives to be much more sophisticated...

    • by rworne (538610) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:34PM (#15818490) Homepage
      It is certainly possible to get new keys. The reason there is an "urban legend" that it's impossible is because of the dealers - who charge ridiculous amounts to replace said keys: typically $80-$120US.

      I find that odd, since key blanks are really cheap. That and the RFID industry is claiming the technology is so cheap they can put these tags on merchandise for mere pennies.

      Honda can reprogram the immobilizer system even if you have no keys. It does require the dealer's help - just because they have access to the HDS (Honda Diagnostic System) that is required to perform the task:


      REPLACING ALL PROGRAMMED IGNITION KEYS
      If your customer has lost all of the programmed ignition keys, you need to replace all of the keys and rewrite the ECM/PCM with the HDS. The HDS clears all transponder codes from the memory of the ECM/PCM and stores the transponder codes of the replacement ignition keys.


      Each manufacturer does this differently, so there are some manufacturers that have immobilizer systems that cannot be reprogrammed without an ECU change if the master/learning key is lost.

    • by symbolic (11752) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:31PM (#15819090)

      I thought it was accepted practice to stall, misrepresent, impose legal costs, hide behind obscure terminology in a contract, and employ countless other ways to avoid rendering its primary service.
  • by Robotech_Master (14247) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:42PM (#15818038) Homepage Journal
    ...to deny claims. That's what they do. Insurance companies aren't in business to pay for people's losses, they're in business not to pay for people's losses, because the less they pay out, the greater profit they make. The portrayal in The Incredibles was just about dead-on. So getting them to fork over is often like trying to squeeze blood from a stone even at the best of times.
    • I would mod your post up, but since it is already at +5, I'll confirm it instead:

      There have been cases among my acquaintances and relatives where the insurance companies refused to pay with the most threadbare excuses. My conclusion is to have only the most essential insurance and to be ready to sue the insurance company if necessary.

      • There have been cases among my acquaintances and relatives where the insurance companies refused to pay with the most threadbare excuses.

        Then they did better than I did when I had a claim against progressive. The adjuster outright lied to me multiple times (and they weren't even good lies). I finally had enough and got a lawyer involved. The lawyer finally got fed up with the new adjuster lying to her so she filed a lawsuit. The insurance company's attorney was a least honest.

    • by Phreakiture (547094) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:28PM (#15818440) Homepage

      Insurance companies aren't in business to pay for people's losses, they're in business not to pay for people's losses, because the less they pay out, the greater profit they make.

      Insurance companies are corporate gamblers. They are betting you are a good driver and that your car won't get stolen or damaged. Your insurance premium is reflective of how good of a bet this is.

      That said, when they lose the bet, they will try to weasel out of paying it.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Insurance companies are corporate gamblers.

        No they are not. No more than the casinos are gamblers. They operate within a designed system that ALWAYS works out to their advantage. They know how many cars get stolen per year in Palo Alto, and charge you accordingly.

        If your car gets stolen, they are still ahead.

        Insurance takes the risk of one individual and spreads it across an entire population.
    • It reminds me of a case here in Seattle recently. A man went nuts and was chasing his girlfriend's truck in his own car. He rammed the truck, forced it across the center line, where it hit another woman's car.

      This woman did have uninsured motorist coverage, but her insurance company denied her medical claims because the man deliberately caused the crash, therefore it wasn't technically an "accident", and thus was not covered by the woman's policy. Insurance companies are weasels and will do anything they ca
  • Denied (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fuzz6y (240555) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:44PM (#15818053)
    Lloyd's of London denied the Cunard line's claim for the loss of ocean liner Titanic, because "God himself could not sink this ship."
  • by sjonke (457707) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:46PM (#15818067) Journal
    They didn't bother to steal the plus-sized, chrome spinny wheels?
  • by russotto (537200) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:46PM (#15818078) Journal
    If the car can't (according to the insurance company) be stolen, then by accepting premiums for insurance which covers loss due to theft (without any intention of ever paying said claims), they are comitting fraud. Sounds like some insurance company executives need to go to jail.
    • Well what they sell you insurance called Comprehensive. Which covers damage not involving and accident, means that if a tree falls on it, or it burns to the ground, OR it gets stolen they pay for it. Obviously they might be inclinded to give better rates for these cars, but they arn't specifically selling theif insurance.
    • by tdvaughan (582870) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:55PM (#15818166) Homepage
      You can still steal the car by towing it away which is insurable against. If, however, they find evidence that the car was driven then they assume that the owner was complicit in the car's theft as they believe that the car is only drivable with the keys in the ignition.
    • They are not claiming it can't be stolen. They claiming it can't be stolen by starting the engine without a copy of the key. There are numerous other ways a car can be stolen. While this is provably incorrect, their position is at least logically consistent.
    • What if a thief towed the truck off? Certainly the car can still be stolen without actually driving it away.
    • by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:36PM (#15818518)
      I used to work at a convenience store in Charlotte, NC as an assistant manager a few years back. Back in early 2003 there was an ice storm that took out power to 75% of the city for almost a week. My store was without power for 4 days. The insurance company denied the claim for the perishable stuff that had spoiled, because it turned out the policy stated that the only way they would pay for such a thing was if the transformer was completely removed from the poll and was on the ground. The transformer had not fallen off the pole, so they denied the claim, even though the entire area was without power for at least 4 days. I actually read the policy myself, couldn't believe it. I guess you should read the fine print of a policy before you get it.
  • by Cpoff (991199) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:47PM (#15818082)
    Throw away one of your keys before you call the insurance company? :)
    • ...and claim that you've been robbed. I.e. your keys stolen as well.

      Yes, it's fraud. But when you commit fraud to get a legitimate claim granted, it's allright in my books.
    • No doubt somewhere in the contract is a clause that such driver stupidity as losing a key, or leaving it sitting in the ignition, also invalidates the contract.

      The moral of the story for me is that I don't really need to buy a car. For people who really need a car, the moral is don't waste money on theft insurance, since you probably won't be able to claim in any case.
  • Excuse my ignorance but could somebody explain to me what is so magical about these refid vehicles as to cause one to expect the impossibility of starting them after they are broken into?

    Exactly what parts of the car are disabled when refid token is not present?
    More over how do those parts KNOW it isn't present?

    I mean unless the refid reader is somehow coupled to the spark control computer so that it is impossible to interpose between the refid receiver and the spark control computer I don't see what would
    • The point is never to make a car theftproof. The point is to make it harder to steal so that the thief will move on to a less secure care. No car thief want to take very long to get the car started, so "under 15 minutes" does not fly unl;ess the car is in a very isolated location.

      But as with most issues, we focus on the wrong part. The problem isn't better technology, it's better punishment for the crime. There's still a distinction between stealing a car for a "joy ride" or taking it to a chop shop. Ther

    • by kidgenius (704962)
      First part you asked how the car knows the token isn't present. Well, there is a transmitter/receiver in the dash/steering column that sends a signal to the key/fob when the key is inserted. Then, because the circuitry of the RFID tag is excited, it transmits back a code to the receiver in the car. The receiver reads this code and the computer in the car verifies that it is the proper code for that car. If it is, it allows the car to start. If the code is incorrect, it prevents the car from starting.
      • by flooey (695860)
        When the RFID token is not present, the computer prevents the car from starting. Without the ECU, your engine can't run. It is vital to the operation of your car. If the software in the ECU actively prevents operation of the car, there isn't anything you can do about it except to load new software onto the ECU that you cooked up (good luck).

        To elaborate, cars nowadays have their engine computer-controlled by an Engine Control Unit (ECU). It often does everything from telling the spark plugs to fire to r
  • RFID madness? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Elektroschock (659467) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:58PM (#15818191)
    The European Union currently conduct a consultation on rfid [rfidconsultation.eu]. I really would like to know what the role of governments should be. Governments are lobbied like hell on rfid. Some civil rights groups call them spychips. And lobbyists approach governments. And the question is why? Shouldn't markets decide?

    Anyway, I suggest you to fill out the questionaire [europa.eu].

    Other intresting consultation links can be found here and [ffii.org]here [europa.eu]. It is important to get more people involved in these political procedures and legislature who actually know what they are talking about. And I would like to spam politicians with the request for 'better interoperability'. Here the regulator has to take measures. I found it very nice that the EU already considered it. "Interoperability, standardization, governance, and Intellectual Property Rights (1 June)"

    So maybe it makes sense to report cases like these to the authorities to avoid madness. I guess they do not read Slashdot.
  • by tradingfire (912178) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:05PM (#15818237)
    Listed below, from best to worst, are the tested cars listed by name, points and, where applicable, time taken to gain entry.
    "What Car?" Security Supertest League Table

    The 26 Cars they Couldn't get into:

    1-3: Lexus IS300, Lexus LS430 and Lexus SC430 (100).
    4-7: BMW 318i SE, Nissan Maxima QX 3.0 SE+, Skoda Superb 2.5 TDi Comfort, Toyota Camry CDX V6 (95)
    8-15: Audi A4 1.9 TDi SE, BMW 735i, BMW X5 3.0d, Citroën C3 1.4 HDi Exclusive, Jaguar S-type, Mazda Tribute, Nissan Primera 2.0, VW Passat V6 4motion (90).
    16-23: Audi A2 1.4 TDi SE, Audi A6 Avant 4.2 quattro, Audi TT 180 Coupé, Ford Fiesta 1.4 Ghia, Seat Ibiza 1.4 Sport, Toyota Previa D-4D GLS, VW Golf GT TDi PD, Volvo S80 2.4T S. (85).
    24-26: Nissan Almera 2.2 Di Sport, Nissan Almera Tino 2.0 SE+, Nissan X-Trail 2.0 SE+ (80).

    The Cars they Could
    27: BMW 520i (75) 1min 12sec
    28: Saab 9-5 Aero 2.3 HOT (75) 1min 5sec
    29: Renault Vel Satis (75) 58sec
    30: Jaguar X-type 2.5 (70) 1min 30sec
    31: Renault Clio 1.6 16v Initiale (70) 1min 15sec
    32: BMW 325i Compact (70) 1min 4sec
    33: Fiat Stilo 1.2 16v Active 5dr (70) 1min
    34: Mazda Premacy (70) 32sec
    35: Honda Jazz 1.4 SE Sport (70) 29sec
    36: Renault Avantime (70) 25sec
    37: Mazda MX-5 (70) 20sec
    38: VW Polo TDi PD Sport (65) 1min 50sec
    39: Volvo V70 T5 (65) 1min 36sec
    40: Honda Civic Type-R (65) 1min 34sec
    41: Mercedes C220 CDi Sports Coupé (65) 1min 20sec
    42: Ford Mondeo TDCi (65) 1min 11sec
    43: Volvo S60 T5 SE (65) 1min 7sec
    44: Toyota Yaris T Sport (65) 57sec
    45: MG ZT 190 (65) 50sec
    46: Ford Focus ST170 (65) 45sec
    47: Honda CR-V SE Sport (65) 43sec
    48: Range Rover 4.4 V8 HSE (65) 38sec
    49: Peugeot 307 SW 2.0 HDi SE (65) 33sec
    50: MG TF 135 (65) 30sec
    51: Mercedes SL500 (65) 29sec
    52: Peugeot 206 HDi D Turbo (65) 20sec
    53: Mini One (60) 50sec
    54: Ford Maverick V6 XLT 3.0 (60) 32sec
    55: Suzuki Liana 1.6 GLX (60) 28sec
    56: Vauxhall VX220 (60) 18sec
    57: Jeep Cherokee 3.7 Ltd (60) 9sec
    58: Toyota Corolla T Sport (60) 8sec
    59: Suzuki Wagon R+ 1.3 GL (50) 48sec
    60: Daihatsu YRV F-speed (50) 12sec
  • 21st century magic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by beavis88 (25983) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:06PM (#15818247)
    Why is it that most people automatically assume technological solutions to problems are infallible, and don't create any further problems? This certainly isn't limited to insurance adjusters and stolen cars, just another convenient reminder that when faced with something they don't understand, the average person seems to just shut down their brain and move on.
    • "Why is it that most people automatically assume technological solutions to problems are infallible, and don't create any further problems?"

      You know how little the average person understands about technology? Well, 49% of people understand even less than that...

      Plus the manufacturers regularly seem to claim that every new technology is precisely such an infallible solution, even though it always turns out not to be.
  • Person files claim, looking for $20000. Insurer suggests a settlement of $0. There's a disagreement about an appropriate settlement.

    When there's a disagreement on settlement, you go to court. It happens all the time. One dumb adjuster/investigator can make your time as a claimant difficulty - but by moving to court you can ensure a due process.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:11PM (#15818296) Homepage Journal
    Homer wants to get rid of a trampoline but can't until Bart puts a bike lock on it, then Snake shows up right away to steal it.
  • by OlivierB (709839) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:18PM (#15818358)
    A friend of mine works in a very large dealership of Germand made cars.
    New cars all come with a little plastic keyring with a tab attached to it. You scratch the surface of this tab to reveal a "Master Key".
    This key is akin to the RFID code needed to start the car, the dealer is supposed to give it up to the customer so that he can order a new set of keys, reprogram the other ones etc..
    This dealer has some people scratch all of these tags before they are given to the client, because as we well know, joe client will lose this in a blink.
    Without this key you need to contact the factory, wait two weeks, pay a fee and than program some new keys.
    On this particular brand, you can program/pair up to 5 keys per car if I remember correctly; only 5 keys can have the same code, I you lose one, you can only have four more etc.. After you've lost these you will need to reprogram all keys once again.

    My point is that at any level in this process you could have an insider job from the dealer, the manufacturer, or even some thief which goes through the dealer's bin picking these tabs if they aren't securely destroyed.

    Forensic evidence for this kind of theft is nearly impossible to tell, the cars ECU don't usually keep a whole lot of historical data.

    Nevermind that, if you get ahold of a dealer's servicing computer and a new ECU worth only a few thousand dollars you can actually reprogram the keys without need for the master key (plus you get to keep the ecu and put the old one back in when you abandon the car).
    The difficulty with this method however is not damaging the stering column or the physical lock.
  • by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:20PM (#15818377)
    They can even be brute forced, however almost every car which has a system like this embedded in the car, has an imobiliser integrated into the engine. While it used to be a case of just disconnecting the immobiliser, they're now very tricky to disable. If you force the ignition without an RFID, the imobiliser would activate before the car got down the road. If the thieves were able to clone the RFID key system they wouldn't need to force the ignition in that way. If they forced the ignition without the code, the imobiliser would have gone off. Sounds like either a defective imobiliser or insurance fraud to me.
    • by Svartalf (2997) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:17PM (#15818934) Homepage
      Or a swapped out ECU. Don't for a moment think that the crooks stealing the expensive
      vehciles don't have access to resources to glom onto a hacked or tuner's ECU somewhere
      that doesn't DO the RFID check. If it doesn't have an alarm system, it's very believeable
      that someone could have busted into the vehicle, swapped out ECUs, busted the column
      lock and cover and drove off in about 10 minutes or so- less if they've got more than
      one thief working in parallel.
  • Remote Start (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Slayback (12197) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:21PM (#15818383)
    One not-so-obvious answer may be that the owner had fitted the vehicle with a remote-start system or a 3rd party alarm. In most cases when this is done with RFID enabled vehicles, they have to override the RFID system. The hack to get around this high-tech security? Stick a key under the dash within range of the receiver. This would allow most remote start systems to then work.

    If the owner had done this and perhaps the perps had witnessed the victim using the remote-start vehicle, then they had a good target.

    Yes, I read the article and read about the back doors, but there's another situation where owners are willfully overriding security systems in order to get the functionality that they want and the manufacturer doesn't give them. Sound familiar?
  • catch-22 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by m874t232 (973431) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:22PM (#15818390)
    Their forensic examiner concluded that since all the keys were accounted for, there was no way the engine could have been started,

    And if not all the keys had been accounted for, the insurance company would have refused to pay because the guy was careless with his keys.

    I hope the victim will be able to recover both his loss and penalties from the insurance company.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:23PM (#15818402) Journal
    quoth imdb:

    Bob: Did I do something illegal?
    Gilbert Huph: [begrudgingly] No.
    Bob: Are you saying we shouldn't help our customers?
    Gilbert Huph: [pacing back and forth] The law requires that I answer, No.
    Bob: I thought we were supposed to help people.
    Gilbert Huph: You're supposed to help *our* people! Starting with our stockholders! Who's helping them out, Huh?
  • Bypass kit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kd5ujz (640580) <william@ram-gear. c o m> on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:24PM (#15818403)
    Bypass kit, ~10 minute install [fortinautoradio.com] 'nuff said.
  • This makes no sense. The car could easily have been towed away even if it couldn't be driven. Heck, folks expect tow-trucks to be in a parking lot hooking up cars and if the owner comes out and objects the "operator" can "let him off with a warning" and drive away with no one ever realizing that a car was almost stolen.

    If anyone sees anything, its a non-descript tow truck with a generic company name and a guy wearing a baseball cap, hooded sweater and sunglasses so you can't tell anything about him except s
  • In the news:

    Half baked insurance companies deny auto claims by default - news at 11p
  • Ummm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:27PM (#15818428) Homepage

    US carmakers and auto-mobile insurers are unshakably certain that vehicles protected by "transponder immobil-izers" can't be driven without the proper keys - or, at least, that circumventing those transponder systems takes more sweat and money than most auto thieves are willing to expend.

    I think these companies are seriously fooling themselves. It's not like every crook has to go through the trouble of cracing the system - only one does - they can then sell their crack to everyone else.

    Who wants to bet that right now, as we speak, car thieves know more about these systems than the insurance company forensic investigators do?

    I don't even know anything about them and I know how this could be done. These systems work like any other public key encryption, they rely on the fact that there is a **private key** in the car that no one knows about. One leak in the system, either in the plant, or in the chip in the car, or in a disgruntled employee at a dealership, and the system falls apart. Boom, it is now trivial to make fake RFID "keys" that respond with the right handshake to private keys sent from the car.

  • by nickovs (115935) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:22PM (#15818980)
    OK, so you have a signed letter from the loss adjuster at the insurance company saying that any car that goes missing that has an RFID in the ignition was not stolen. In that case there's only one thing to do: spend $500 on a private eye, find out where they live and what car they drive, and then take it. After all, you have a signed letter from the owner saying that it wasn't theft!

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