>>Charslie: We are in the middle of a mystery… Trying to track down a device that could be making these cars, and yours, open to attack by thieves. Our search for that device is about to uncover a surprising new world of cars and crime. Watch this home security video. It’s the middle of the night in Long Beach, California. Two suspects approach two cars parked in someone’s driveway. With little effort, the first man opens the first vehicle and in he goes. The second man approaches the other vehicle, and with a slight pause, he too is in. He seems to have something in his hand. Could that be the mystery device?>>Long Beach police department is baffled by a series of high-tech auto thefts.>>Charslie: Across the continent.>>NBC 5 has learned of a new way thieves are breaking into your cars.>>Charslie: The same scenario and the same results.>>It is crime catching on here in Winnipeg. And we have video of it.>>Charslie: It’s like they have their own keys.>>One guy has something in his hand. Then he walks over to the Toyota. And, bingo, it opens.>>Charslie: So, how do they do it? [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: Our trail leads us to Washington. And to some victims of car theft –>>Show time.>>Charslie: Who happen to be two of our very own colleagues. [ Speaking in French >>Charslie: Christian Latrielle and Marcel Calfat work for Radio-Canada, the French side of CBC. They were on assignment when they found themselves in the middle of a crime story. So take me back. What was happening that day?>>It was the last day of our shoot. So we had checked out of the hotel, packed the van with everything, all our equipment, our personal luggage, and we had one more interview to do. As I was leaving, I just turned around and with the zapper just locked the door. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: A witness tells them soon after they left, a man approached the van and circled it. The man opened the van, no problem, as if he had a key. And within minutes, emptied it.>>And me and the cameraman, we opened the trunk. When he opened the trunk, I couldn’t believe that the material, the equipment wasn’t there anymore. It was like a dream. You know? I went foggy. It took me a few seconds to realize that everything was gone.>>Charslie: This list shows they lost about $30,000 in equipment and personal items. Did police have any theories about what may have happened?>>When the patrol car came, oh yeah, yeah, they probably stole your — the wavelengths or whatever. I said, what are you talking about? I had never heard of this. They said yeah, happens all the time, where they can grab your signal when you’re trying to lock the car and after that, they just open it.>>Charslie: This is something that happened in California.>>That was easier than I thought.>>Charslie: Were you surprised it’s that easy?>>That’s amazing. No hesitation. Just poof, open the door.>>Charslie: Had these suspects also captured signals using them here to unlock these cars? Police aren’t sure. The internet, though, is filled with theories, products and videos that claim to know the trick. Scanners, jammers and amplifiers that interfere with the unlock code your fob sends to your car. But does any of this stuff really work? [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: We’re in California. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: The car theft capital of the U.S. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: To meet a guy who says he can prove it’s possible. Samy Kamkar has a very nice ride. He hasn’t, though, always done very nice things. He once created the fastest spreading computer virus of all time. We’ve hired Samy to show us how he can get around car security. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: And to see if he can pop the locks on this 2016 Cadillac SRX. So Sammy, what is that?>>So, this is a device I call roll jam. It’s proof of concept that I’ve created that demonstrates some of the insecurities with vehicles today. It gives me the ability to unlock a car when it really shouldn’t be unlocking.>>Charslie: What motivated you to come up with this?>>Cars are now pretty much just computers on wheels. So like a computer, they’re vulnerable to various types of attacks. So just interested in what are the attacks that are possible today?>>Charslie: Samy is known as a white hat hacker. He tries to expose flaws in security systems before the bad guys do.>>We’ll place a smaller version that basically interferes with the signal on the vehicle.>>Charslie: Can his device hack his way through the latest antitheft features?>>And this device, this is what picks up the signal. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: First he needs to figure out the car’s frequencies and program the device. After about half an hour, time to put this hacker to the test.>>Hit unlock. Try a few times. Cool. So I’m basically taking that signal. So now that signal is programmed in here. I can disable this. And when I want, I can go up to the car and I can unlock it. So currently we see it’s locked.>>Charslie: Yeah. Can’t get in.>>And then… Just using this.>>Charslie: A device that costs just 30 bucks to build. [ Laughter ]>>Get in. All of the cars that are out basically use the same technology. We’ve known about it for years, and we’ve all thought it’s been relatively secure. But, unfortunately, pretty much all vehicles have this same defect.>>Gill: Face-to-face with the head of cybersecurity at GM.>>Charslie: When you see this, do you get nervous?>>I get nervous any time researchers show anything.>>Gill: Shifting into the fast lane. This is your “Marketplace”. [ ♪♪ ]>>You’ll need to put this on.>>Charslie: Just in case.>>Just in case.>>Gill: Detective Paul LaSalle is taking us to a crime scene as we dig deeper into the world of electronic car theft. [ ♪♪ ]>>Gill: You’ve already seen how bad guys unlock your doors and steal stuff using high-tech devices. Now we’re about to show you how they unlock your engine to make off with your entire car.>>Going into North York. There’s been a number of occasions when stolen cars have been at this warehouse.>>Charslie: LaSalle works for York Regional Police just north of Toronto. In the past two years his auto theft squad has seen a rise in electronic car theft.>>There’s a place, so what we’ll do, we’ll just park right here and you can shoot through the side window if you want. There’s some containers there.>>Charslie: Cars stolen using those electronic devices, you found some in containers just like this.>>Just like this.>>Charslie: More than once police have uncovered stolen cars here ready to be shipped overseas.>>Nissan Quest.>>Charslie: The containers sometimes hold as many as four vehicles. Often with older cars in front, hiding newer models destined for countries like Nigeria. So it sounds like some of the thieves have caught up to technology.>>Absolutely.>>Charslie: The technical security elements.>>Absolutely. If there’s profit, people are going to put the effort in to do it right. So is it getting easier? For some, it is. Because they’ve got the technology to do it.>>Charslie: Technology that’s at work in this home surveillance video LaSalle gave us. One thief enters the SUV through the back door and lets the other one in the front. [ ♪♪ ]>>Gill: That thief is holding some kind of electronic device. It isn’t long before he’s got it started, and it’s another car stolen.>>Basically they’re getting into the brains of the car and getting the car to learn a new key. So the key that they bring to the scene simply after an amount of time that they need to reprogram it, simply just driving away.>>Charslie: You have actually got your hands on some of these electronic devices?>>Yep.>>Charslie: Do you want to show us some?>>Uh, no. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: He won’t show us. So we go looking for some of those devices ourselves down the road in Oakville, Ontario. We’ve heard thieves are using tools meant for legitimate locksmiths. Guys like Nic MacKay who’s agreed to show us how they work. Hey, Nic.>>How’s it going?>>Charslie: Great to meet you. Thanks for helping us out. So, your challenge, these keys are going to stay in my pocket. You got to get in this car, get it going, get outta here.>>Sounds good.>>Charslie: All right. Show us how it’s done. I lock the doors while Nic gets his equipment. Nothing fancy. To get into the car. The big challenge is to get the car going. Ooh. What is that?>>This is the MBB Pro. It’s a key programmer.>>Charslie: This key programmer allows Nic to talk to the car’s computer. So I’ve got the keys, Nic. What are you going to do?>>I have an unprogrammed key. Same thing. See, it doesn’t work the car at all. I’m going to basically tell the car to accept this as a new key.>>Charslie: It’s the same method thieves are using. Plug the programmer into the car’s diagnostic port, find the right make and model, and reset the car’s immobilizer.>>The immobilizer is what stops anyone from just coming in with any key, starting it up and going away.>>Charslie: Nic’s key programmer cost thousands, but there are plenty of cheaper knockoffs on sites like eBay that claim to work the same way. Do you think this kind of stuff could work?>>Yes. Absolutely. It’s actually really disappointing that they’re selling this stuff on eBay, because eBay won’t even sell lock picks as they are classified as burglary tools. Anyone who is on the internet buying key programming software on eBay, more than likely not legitimate.>>Charslie: eBay tells us selling key programmers could violate their policies. They remove the listings we showed them and will investigate others. After about 15 minutes, the car is ready for a new key.>>Going to add this one in. Still in its packaging.>>Charslie: Not all fobs work the same, but they can all be reprogrammed like this.>>I’m going to put this key up here. You’re going to hear a little chirp, and this key is tied to it. There we go. Just like that.>>Charslie: That’s it. Key programmed.>>Yep.>>Charslie: You can start this car?>>Absolutely.>>Charslie: Prove it. Get outta here. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: Now that cars are crammed with so much electronics… Car companies are in a race to keep them secure from thieves.>>It’s a big catchup game. What needs to be done is they need to get on top of it quick.>>Charslie: And from hackers.>>Hopefully this will alert manufacturers to actually resolve this issue now that we understand more about potentially what those attackers were doing. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: It was a GM car that Samy hacked. So we’re crossing into Detroit to find out what General Motors thinks about it. Jeff Massimilla is head of cybersecurity for GM. He says he wants to hear from the hackers. So we show him Samy’s work.>>Can’t get in.>>And then… I just use this.>>I guess what I would say is I would love to work with Samy more on this. The idea of that attack is pretty interesting. Maybe not a real-world type of activity, but could be applied in a real-world way which is why we need to get out in front of that stuff.>>Charslie: When you see this, do you get nervous?>>I get nervous any time researchers show anything. Researchers are very smart. In cybersecurity it’s a very interesting thing. Cybersecurity experts have to be right a hundred percent of the time. Researchers or attackers have to be right once. It’s a challenge every industry faces.>>Charslie: One of the police officer we had worked with, he was telling us if thieves can figure out a way to make money stealing cars, they’re going to do it pretty quick. The automotive industry in order to fix it, it’s going to cost them money so it could take them a little longer. What do you make of that?>>Safety and security of our customers are the highest priority. This is top of mind for General Motors. So I don’t agree with that statement at the most principled level from our perspective of the safety and security of our customers is our highest priority.>>Charslie: GM is the first big car company to openly invite hackers to find flaws in its vehicles. Massimilla says they’ve already fixed some things as a result. How worried should car owners be about the threat of cyberattacks?>>Car owners should know that their vehicles are safe. That’s the number one most important thing. And absolutely everything like this, anything that we see, we learn more about it and we address it. [ ♪♪ ]>>Charslie: If you’re not convinced, there are steps you can take in the meantime. And none of them are that high-tech. Like a lock for your steering wheel, and a lock for your diagnostic port. Anything that will slow a thief down.>>Time is risk. And risk is something they don’t want to do.>>Charslie: And, even better, listen to some guys who have been there. So, what lesson did you learn from that?>>Can we show you?>>Charslie: Sure. Show me.>>You want to lock your car, you press that magic button.>>Press the button. No more signal.>>And you close the door.>>Just like that. Never again with the fob.>>Gill: Learn how to outsmart car thieves and share your tips at facebook.com/cbcmarketplace.