Hackers and their accomplices used fraudulent software to unlock, start and steal vehicles without using the actual key.
31 suspects were arrested, dismantling an alleged car theft ring that employed hacking software to steal French-made cars, Europol announced.
According to the authorities, the suspects targeted vehicles of two French car manufacturers with keyless entry and start systems, twisting the in-built protection to steal the automobiles.
“A fraudulent tool – marketed as an automotive diagnostic solution, was used to replace the original software of the vehicles, allowing the doors to be opened and the ignition to be started without the actual key fob,” Europol said in a statement.
In a cooperative effort to catch the car hacker ring, French, Spanish and Latvian authorities arrested 31 suspects and seized over €1 million in criminal assets.
According to Europol, arrested suspects allegedly carried out different tasks within the gang. Those arrested are software developers, people who sold the software, and car thieves who used it to break into vehicles.
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