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RFID-enabled Vehicles: Pinch My Ride 429

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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  • 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 on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:43PM (#15818049)
    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.
  • 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."
  • Re:In other news (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pilgrim23 ( 716938 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:54PM (#15818153)
    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.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:56PM (#15818171)
    ...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.
  • 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
  • Re:Here's an idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:12PM (#15818306) Homepage Journal
    No. In fact, it doesn't make sense.
    Can you explain to me why we need a sliding scale? The gas-guzzler drivers are already buying more fuel and thus paying more tax. Do you like having the government tell you what and how to drive? Do you want to penalize contractors, limousine companies, and boat owners for buying a vehicle that meets their needs?
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • Bypass kit (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kd5ujz ( 640580 ) <william@NoSpam.ram-gear.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:24PM (#15818403)
    Bypass kit, ~10 minute install [fortinautoradio.com] 'nuff said.
  • by wsanders ( 114993 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:25PM (#15818412) Homepage
    A poll a while back found 1/4 of americans approve of insurance fraud

    http://www.accenture.com/xd/xd.asp?it=enweb&xd=_dy n%5Cdynamicpressrelease_577.xml [accenture.com]

    So yeah, not a bad assumption to make.
  • by ReallyEvilCanine ( 991886 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:01PM (#15818777) Homepage
    RTFA a little closer. The car had RFID keys and shouldn't be able to start without the physical key being present, making theft considerably more difficult. While new in the US, such technology has been fairly common in Europe for over a decade. Even shitty Renault Twingos have that kind of protection, though not necessarily RFID. On a Twingo you can start the car but it'll die in three seconds if you don't press the button on the key which sends a signal to the computer to allow the car to run. RFIDs are passive and have enough range that direct action isn't required, unlike trying to start a shitty, 7-year-old Twingo.

    You're correct on the second part though. Had the guy not been able to account for all keys, the insurance company would've rejected the claim due to negligence.

  • by c_forq ( 924234 ) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:02PM (#15818787)
    I'm always amazed by the tricks car workers and car theifs know. It just goes to prove that saying "locks keep an honest man honest", or however that goes. Once I locked my keys in my car just outside of Detroit. I found a guy to help me out in the yellow pages, who happened to be a recently laid off autoworker, in about 3 minutes he had my entire door panel off and actually took the lock out of the door to make a new key, and I was given a new working key within 10 minutes of him arriving.
  • RTFA a little closer. The car had RFID keys and shouldn't be able to start without the physical key being present, making theft considerably more difficult. While new in the US, such technology has been fairly common in Europe for over a decade.

    Read what I wrote a little closer. I said "since when do you need the keys to steal a car?" The answer is simple - you don't.

    Two words ... Tow Truck.

    Shove that Navigator into a nearby container and even a lojack can't find it (the condainer makes a nice faraday cage, blocking all radio signals).

    Q: What do you call someone whoo thinks a key is perfect protection against theft?
    A: A pigeon.

  • 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!
  • by rudedog ( 7339 ) <dave@@@rudedog...org> on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:25PM (#15819017) Homepage
    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 can do to get out of paying, including tortured parsing of language.

    The company eventually paid up, but only after the woman's situation was exposed by the local media, and the state insurance commissioner started to threaten the company.
  • by berzerke ( 319205 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:39PM (#15819180) Homepage

    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 GizmoToy ( 450886 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:44PM (#15819238) Homepage
    That's not completely the case for cars with immobilizers. Your car's ECU has a specific rolling immobilization code. Any key you order must be programmed with the current code to match your car's ECU. When this is done, all keys you wish to use must be present or they are locked out. In this way, both the key and ECU are mated to each other. At least that's how it works on new Hondas, I watched the process when I picked up my new Civic. It helps to get around the "corrupt dealer employee" hole by requiring all keys AND the car to be in the same place and reprogrammed at the same time. There's no way to make a key at the dealership without the car present and expect it to start the car.

    Of course, if you have your car in for service with all your keys, then they could do it without your knowledge.
  • by smeg168 ( 92477 ) on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:27PM (#15819653)
    A piggy back is not a ECU. They do significantly less than a real ecu (which is why that piggy back cost you ~$300 while a AEM engine management will run you ~1500), all the piggyback is doing is altering the input from the engine's sensors(maf,o2,etc..) to make the real ecu make adjustments based on it's own algorithms and unless you had that piggyback dynotuned you are probably not helping your performance and possibly hurting it, because I am sure you could figure out in about an hour better air/fuel maps than those nissan engineers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @03:55PM (#15819924)
    The staistics for false claims of rape are in line with false claims for other crimes.

    If someone accuses you of stealing their car, even though they've lent it to you in the past, you can't be convicted unless they come up with some proof that it's in your garage, or get some film of you bringing it to a chop shop or something like that.

    However, if you fuck your girlfriend one night, dump her the next morning, and the evil lying cunt goes to the ER and screams rape, you are HOSED. You will get 10-20 just on the psycho slut's word that it was rape and not consensual.

  • by clarkcox3 ( 194009 ) <slashdot@clarkcox.com> on Monday July 31, 2006 @04:09PM (#15820039) Homepage
    When I was in college, there were groups going around telling women that "you may just not know you were raped." They had a clear goal of blurring the line between the words "rape" and "regret".
    No, they had a clear goal of making women understand that having a guy cornering them in their room and not letting them out until they "give it up" isn't something they should be expected to live with, or that waking up in a frat house with no clothes on and no memory of last night, isn't just something that "just happens".
    Were you there, why do you automatically disbelieve that the GP saw what he said he saw? And there were indeed such groups at my college. They made absurd claims such as "If you've had a single drink of alcohol (and are female), you are unable to consent to sex."
    By your reasoning, we should assume that any person who claims they were robbed or assaulted is lying just because some people lie about it, or live in fear that we could be sent to jail by having someone pointing a finger at us and saying "he stole from me" if we don't defend the reputation of accused thieves.
    Nice straw-man. No, that was not his reasoning. If you followed his reasoning, you would get: "It is nieve[sic] to believe that every person who claims to have been robbed or assaulted was really robbed or assaulted." Which is an objectively true statement.

Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -- Thomas Alva Edison