Law enforcement agencies from France, Span and Latvia in joint effort manage to nab a hacker gang that used wireless key fobs to steal cars.
According to Europol, “The criminals targeted vehicles with keyless entry and start systems, exploiting the technology to get into the car and drive away.”
On 10 October 2022, the coordinated operation took place across three countries: it resulted in the arrest of 31 suspects who were involved in the development, promotion and distribution of a software tool. This group of hackers included software developers, resellers and card thieves who used the tool to break into vehicles.
In addition to the arrests, officials also seized €1,098,500 worth of criminal assets and one internet domain that allegedly advertised the service online.
Europol reported that the criminals are said to have targeted keyless vehicles manufactured by two unidentified French car companies. The perpetrators then replaced the original software with fraudulent software that they marketed as an “automotive diagnostic solution.”
Once installed, the keyless entry remote system made it possible to open and start the ignition without a key. The agency did not reveal any more details on how the attacks were actually carried out.
According to a press release by Eurojust, the hacking group “used fraudulent software to steal vehicles by duplicating the vehicles’ ignition keys. More than €100 million, as well as 12 bank accounts, real estate, and 3 luxury cars were seized in France.”
Further Europol added, the investigation was coordinated by the French Gendarmerie’s Cybercrime Centre (C3N), with the E.U.-wide law enforcement agency assisting the case since March 2022.
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