Hackers use cellphones to break into cars


    Dr. Jim Meehan says his security cameras captured this man apparently using nothing but his cellphone to break into his vehicle. (Courtesy Dr. Jim Meehan) <p>{/p}

    Doors locked, Dr. Jim Meehan routinely parks his red Jeep Cherokee right in front of his office, directly under a security camera, where he can easily keep an eye on it inside, but none of that mattered one bit the other day.

    "It's easy, it’s just too easy," he said.

    Easy for some guy who came along in broad daylight, up to no good.

    "You can see there he tries the handle, it's definitely locked. He’s messing around with the app there, he’s looking in my front door window, and he’s waiting for something, I guess it takes a while for this app to isolate the signal, and then, he opens up the door," he said.

    From the moment he checked the door to the moment it was opened was just twenty seconds.

    "I never would have imagined that they’ve been able to hack a system like this," he said.

    Google the crime and you'll find articles like, 'Signal Amplification Relay Attack,' along with other methods, which explain how the signal from your key fob is either amplified, copied, or simply hacked.

    Tulsa police say they're unaware of anyone having their car stolen through this method, and over at Crime Stoppers...

    "At Crime Stoppers we haven’t heard of anything like this happening," said Executive Director Karen Gilbert.

    The newness of the crime locally somewhat of a double-edged sword.

    "You hesitate to kind of release this kind of information because more people are going to go find that app," said Dr. Meehan.

    But awareness is often the first step to prevention.

    "Making sure that everyone in the area is aware of what’s going on and what to be on the lookout for," said Gilbert.

    As for the thief, the only thing Dr. Meehan had of value was two boxes of Girl Scout cookies. The crook stole one, leaving the doctor with the other, along with his sense of humor.

    "I wish he would have taken both boxes because I polished off that other box all by myself pretty much," he laughed.

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