Yash, a tech worker in San Francisco, learned the hard way that his connected car wasn't a safe as he thought.
Like a lot of new high-tech cars, his vehicle — a 2013 Mazda3 Hatchback — was secured using a key-less entry. The fob in his pocket automatically opens the car trunk as he approaches the vehicle.
One day recently, the trunk opened automatically to reveal all of his belongings, a computer and other valuables, were missing. Panicked, he checked the windows, the doors, and the backseat. But while his belongings were nowhere to be found, there was absolutely no sign of a break-in.
Key-less entry is increasingly a standard feature on new cars. What few new owners realize, however, is how vulnerable this, and other new features of the connected car leave them.
What Yash, who declined to give his last name, likely experienced was one of two forms of auto burglary. An "amplification attack" happens when a thief uses a device to "amplify" the signal generated by a key-less remote (perhaps one left on a kitchen table) to open a car's doors and trunk.