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How vulnerable are LH (Sentry-Key) cars to new theft technology?

Discussion in 'LH: Large Cars, 1993-2004' started by MoPar~Man, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    I'm reading more and more about security immobilizer devices being bought on ebay and being used to easily unlock "modern" cars, and the use of key-fob range extenders to break into and /or start cars that no longer have ignition switches.

    Does anyone know how the door-lock / car alarm immobilizers work, and do they work on the 10-15 year-old Sentry Key electronics found in LH and other Chrysler products back in the day?
     
  2. ImperialCrown

    Level III Supporter

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    The RKE works on a 'rolling code' that has, I believe up to 3000 different possible codes. It is never the same signal twice and the transmitter and receiver must be kept in 'sync':
    Remote keyless system - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Rolling code - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Despite these safeguards, the LH cars still show a higher rate of theft according to the IIHS:
    ictl_0902.pdf
    Modern theft deterrent systems are much better than ones of 10-15 years ago. The old PCI bus system may be incompatible for anything with CAN bus. The only upfit would be aftermarket.
    Locality and vulnerability would be the 2 big risks.
    I have no experience with the products shown on ebay or at auto electronics stores.
    If a hacker really wants your car that badly, they will probably get it despite your best efforts to prevent them.
    Try to make stealing your car as unattractive as possible. Etch your VIN into all the glass where they can see it. Proximity alarms would attract attention to an approaching thief.
    For more information, I would contact your insurance company.
     
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  3. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    In this 2010 document:

    Federal Register, Volume 75 Issue 168 (Tuesday, August 31, 2010)

    Chrysler is petitioning the NHTSA with regard to 49 CFR Part 543 (Exemption From Vehicle Theft Prevention Standard) for the 2012 model-year Fiat 500.

    (I don't quite understand the nature or reason for this petition, because it seems to read that the Fiat will still end up with an engine imobilizer - so what exactly is being exempted?)

    In the document, Chrysler supplies the following supporting information:

    -----------------------
    Chrysler stated that while there is no theft data available for the Fiat 500 because it is a new vehicle line introduction, the theft rate experience of the Jeep Grand Cherokee which has been installed with the SKIS immobilizer device since MY 1999 indicates that it is projected to have a theft rate lower than the median theft rate.

    Chrysler stated that NHTSA's theft rate data for the Jeep Grand Cherokee indicates that the inclusion of a standard immobilizer system has resulted in a 52.3 percent net average reduction in vehicle thefts for the Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicle line. The average theft rate for the Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicle for four model years prior to installation of an immobilizer device as standard equipment (1995-1998) was 5.3574, which is significantly higher than the 1990/1991 median theft rate of 3.5826.

    However, the average theft rate for the six model years after installation of the standard immobilizer device (1999-2005) was 2.5492, which is significantly lower than the median. The Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicle line was granted an exemption from the parts-marking requirements beginning with MY 2004. Chrysler stated that it expects Fiat 500 vehicles equipped with standard ignition immobilizer systems to mirror the results achieved by the Jeep Cherokee vehicles when ignition immobilizer devices were included as standard equipment.
    ------------------------

    So the SKIS/rfid-based ignition immobilizer resulted in an almost 50% reduction in vehicle theft (I'm presuming we're talking about stealing the entire vehicle, as opposed to being able to enter the vehicle and stealing contents by disabling the entry alarm).

    And that's something that is probably more important to more people - knowing that your car-door locking and alarm system can't be defeated by external technology, allowing thieves silent access to your car's interior.

    There seems to be new technology, akin to an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) device that, when positioned in proximity to a door lock and activated, sends a disruptive pulse to the car's body-control module and kicking the module out of alarm mode and unlocking the doors. I'm wondering how well these devices work when deployed against 15-year-old LH-model vehicles.

    See the following for more info about these devices:



    Automakers urged to do more about $5 car-theft device

    http://jalopnik.com/whats-the-secret-device-thieves-in-california-are-using-471782175
     
  4. Tomguy

    Tomguy Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, the system will lock & prevent starts if the wrong SKIM is used 3 times or more in a row - and brute-force attacks on encrypted systems like SKIM require guessing the key - so without having a good SKIM key to nab the code from I'd imagine there are easier ways to steal a SKIM LH, if for some reason someone really wanted to steal a 12+ year-old car and not just chop it.
     
  5. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    If they want to car, they can just tow it away. Once it's out of the public eye, you can swap enough components to "re-SKIM" the car.
    Supposedly there is hardware out there that can read the PIN from a chip embedded in the WIN module.
     
  6. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    That's exactly what happened to my '92 Acclaim. Was working nights at the time. Went outside for a break at 4 am and my car was gone. Called authorities. A few hours later they found it about a block away. Door had been pried (and bent open), and the ignition cylinder pried out. The officer said the thieves had probably used a tow truck to tow it away and then tried to drive it across the city line into DC (it's illegal for a car to be towed across the city line after dark without the owner). Fortunately when they popped out the ignition cylinder it made it unstartable as it disrupted the line that sends a signal to the fuel pump. $600 damage to the door, ignition and bumper.
     
  7. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    It's not stealing the car that I'm thinking about here.

    It's someone walking up to my locked 300m sitting in my driveway at 2 am, pressing a button on a hand-held device that unlocked my doors and de-activates the factory alarm, opening the door and rummaging around inside.

    That is apparently the reality for some possibly large percentage of "modern" cars. I'm wondering if these hand-held devices work just as well against the 15-year-old technology / electronics in my 300m as they apparently work against a brand new Cadilac Escalade.
     
  8. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    If a thief just wants to steal what may be inside he doesn't need such a device. A hammer will suffice (though it's much noisier).
     
  9. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    > If a thief just wants to steal what may be inside he doesn't need such a device.

    In my (Canadian) neighborhood, the bar is set much higher when it comes to breaking into cars - middle of the night or not.

    I bet only 1 car gets a busted window for every 500 cars that are "tested" (for being locked or unlocked) and maybe 100 turn out to be unlocked.

    I know on our street alone (based on the gossip I hear, and what my trail-cam mounted to the tree in my front yard records) that we can count on 1 miscreant making the rounds in the middle of the night per month. Always seems to be at least 1 car being entered during these episodes, and never because a window was busted or a door forced open.

    Again, there was a reason why these EMP or tesla-coil car-unlockers were created, and the video I showed in my previous posts shows it perfectly. The causual thief (for which there are many) will almost never break into a car, but instead is satisfied stealing the spare change (and possibly more) which they find in the unlocked car.
     
  10. Tomguy

    Tomguy Well-Known Member

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    FYI the door can be unlocked without the SKIM key and it will not set off an alarm. I have a non-SKIM emergency key in case my main gets locked in the car or trunk. It can open but not start the car. Using it does not set off the alarm.
     
  11. MoPar~Man

    MoPar~Man Member

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    > FYI the door can be unlocked without the SKIM key and it will not set off an alarm.

    > FYI the door can be unlocked

    Unlocked - with what? A screwdriver and a hammer?

    Again, I'm considering the use-case of a punk making the rounds in the middle of the night, not knowing ahead of time what car's he's going to encounter, and (apparently) doing nothing more than trying the door handle to see if a car is locked or not. Having a box that you can buy off ebay (?) that will disarm and unlock some unknown fraction of cars the punk encounters is a game-changer if you ask me.
     
  12. Tomguy

    Tomguy Well-Known Member

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    I don't damage my locks to unlock my car, but I presume if you can unlock with a non-SKIM key & not set the alarm off, you can do the same with a screwdriver & hammer, or whatever other method an unscrupulous thief may use. Opening the lock from the inside will still set the alarm off (pulling up on the lock itself).
     
  13. ImperialCrown

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    The SKIM ID chip is only sensed when the key is placed in the ignition key cylinder, not in the door key cylinder.
     
  14. valiant67

    valiant67 Rich Corinthian Leather
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    They "key" to unlocking a door and not setting off an alarm is that there is a sensor/switch on the back of the lock cylinder that disarms the alarm when the key is turned. Theoretically someone could punch the lock and turn the cylinder and mimic the key turning to open the door without the alarm sounding. However, that's probably unlikely as the linkage is usually damaged when punching the lock.
     
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  15. RLSH700

    RLSH700 New Member

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    What I use in addition to my car's stock security is a locking club and a locking break. I'm sure there are ways around this for anyone desperate enough, but the more challenging you make it, the more likely they are to move on to an easier target.
     
  16. Doug D

    Doug D Virginia Gentleman

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    A determined thief can use a hack saw to cut through the steering wheel and slide off the locking club. I have a locking club I use on occasion. But yeah, it's usually enough to deter most thieves. It's always a good idea to keep any valuable items (GPS, tools, etc) out of plain view. I use to keep my tool box in the bed of my Ram. Now I have it on the floor in the back. My cheap code reader and multi-meter are well hidden.
     

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