European police detain a car-theft gang that attempted to hack into thousands of vehicles.

It’s possible that a criminal organization in Europe attempted to hack tens of thousands of vehicles with keyless entry systems in order to steal them.

The criminal organization was broken up by police in France, Spain, and Latvia, which led to the detention of 31 suspects, according to according (Opens in a new window) to Europol, which made the announcement on Monday.

The car theft ring allegedly targeted vehicles from two unnamed French automakers that have keyless entry systems. The doors could be opened and the ignition could be turned on without the actual key fob thanks to a fraudulent equipment that was sold as an automobile diagnostic solution, according to Europol.

Additionally, a notice stating “This service has been seized” was released by the European law enforcement organizations. This means that before the crackdown, the hackers who created the hacking tool sold access to it online, probably through dark web marketplaces.

Other information, such as the name of the automakers or the vulnerability that was used to hack into the automobiles, was withheld by Europol. A spokeswoman for the organization, however, tells PCMag that “the automakers are currently working to upgrade their systems to correct the vulnerability exploited by the thief.”

Additionally, there is proof that the hacking was rather widespread. The criminal organization that had “recorded over 53,000 connections” had many servers that were taken by French police throughout the inquiry.

The spokesperson for Europol explains, “This gives a sense of the scope of the criminal activity (each connection Represents an attempt to steal a car).


The hacking tool’s creators, distributors, and users, as well as the auto thieves who used the malware, were all among the individuals detained. Law enforcement also searched 22 addresses and recovered more than €1,098,500 ($1.08 million) in suspected illegal assets in addition to the arrests.

The car theft ring inquiry was started by the Gendarmerie, France’s national law enforcement organization, in cyberspace. The investigation was then supported by Europol beginning in March.

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