Man Disables More Than 100 Cars Over Internet

Man Disables More Than 100 Cars Over Internet

Car manufacturers often tout the peace of mind that comes from GPS devices that can help you recover a stolen car, unlock your car doors, etc. When used in the wrong hands, however, these devices can wreak havoc. After a man who was fired from a Texas auto dealership used an Internet service to remotely disable ignitions and set off car horns of more than 100 vehicles, the downfalls of these devices are quite apparent.

Omar Ramos-Lopez was arrested by Austin police on Wednesday after he used a former colleague's password to deactivate starters and set off car horns of vehicles sold from his former workplace. After their cars were deactivated, several owners said they had to call tow trucks and were left stranded. "He caused these customers, now victims, to miss work," Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Aguinaga said. "They didn't get paid. They had to get tow trucks. They didn't know what was going on with their vehicles."



The vehicles had GPS devices that were installed by the Texas Auto Center dealership in Austin. The devices are designed to be used to repossess a car if a buyer is overdue on payments. They also allow repo agents to activate the car horn if an owner attempts to hide the car.

In mid-February, dealership employees noticed someone was changing business records. One record even showed dead rapper Tupac Shakur as the owner of a 2009 vehicle. Soon after the changed records were discovered, customers began calling to complain their cars wouldn't start or the horn was going off incessantly. Originally, the dealership believed the cars had mechanical problems. Eventually, police were able to trace the sabotage to Ramos-Lopez's computer.
Via: Yahoo | News Archive | Tags: GPS
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This Omar character is certainly no angel but I don't feel any sympathy for a dealership that installs a retrieval mechanism for their repo department. I'm willing to bet that somewhere in Texas, there's a lawyer scratching his head musing about whether or not he should challenge this practice.

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Lmfao what a funny thing to do... Would of been funny on April fools xD. But it is true why do they install these kind of things... I woul never buy a car like this and then one day find out one day some on hacks in and disables my car.

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Inspector:
Lmfao what a funny thing to do... Would of been funny on April fools xD.

Would not have been funny to me if my fiancee had ended up stuck on they highway by herself. I would be putting my boot up someones ass.

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Yeah wireless means of transmission and control are great generally, but they can lead to far greater things, a general user does not realize. This is one of the things I have been pointing out about smart phones, especially operating on 2G or 3G. Someone can do things more easily than you would think. I bet this person had a car repo'd or new someone who did by this dealership. Through that he found out the capabilities of the device, and decided to teach them a lesson. He is obviously not experienced in it or he would not have been caught, or they would have had a lot more difficulty in doing so.

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This article made me laugh. Why someone would be so dumb is beyond me. I guess it is the analogy of he did it because he could, but it still makes him an idiot. Hackers need to get a life.

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Apple has a commercial advertising an app for the iphone that allows you to turn off your lights and lock your doors from a plane. Is this similar to the lo jack device they have installed on these cars?

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I wouldn't want something like this in my car. Where I live, the risk of getting your car stolen is very low. Even though this seemed like a rare/small occurrence, the risk of having the system hacked and disabling my car is higher.

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LOL bob in that case then no its not funny but if it happens to someone else it kinds is :)

Also cheezit and ryugtx (if you were referring to cheezit's post) this is not a device for you to prevent robbery or what u are trying to say (also depends if these buyers knew if these were installed) These devices are for the dealer to locate and reposes the car if the buyer fails to pay his bills :P.

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Inspector:

LOL bob in that case then no its not funny but if it happens to someone else it kinds is :)

Also cheezit and ryugtx (if you were referring to cheezit's post) this is not a device for you to prevent robbery or what u are trying to say (also depends if these buyers knew if these were installed) These devices are for the dealer to locate and reposes the car if the buyer fails to pay his bills :P.

 

Thanks for the correction. When I read the post, the thought didn't cross my mind about leasing a car. I immediately thought that people went to that dealership to have a new GPS installed.

 

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umm wow

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Did the dealership DISCLOSE to their customers the fact that the disabling/horn honking device was in those cars? That's what that Texas Lawyer should be scratching his head about.

I have a friend who is a repo-guy and his agency provides him with a USB device that he can load the car's remote settings into. He shows up with a dealer made key in hand and unlocks the door with his magic-box and drives away. He too, can activate the car's panic button to set the horn off to help locate the car.

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This is exactly why having GPS on your car isn't GOOD. I mean if you are really paranoid, you'd think that the government would be able to track you wherever you go. And worse, this kind of crime can happen in ANY dealership. From Toyota to Lexus, people everywhere can be affected negatively just because of some MAD ex-employee. 

This problem will only get worse if nothing is done. Imagine some employee gets fired. He can easily disable hundreds of cars just because he lost his job. We can't have this! Although GPS trackers on cars has it's advantage of being able to find where your car is if it is stolen. It doesn't really matter when your insurance will cover the price of your car if it is ever stolen. 

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blazarcher:
And worse, this kind of crime can happen in ANY dealership. From Toyota to Lexus,

This made me lol. Big Smile

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blazarcher:

This is exactly why having GPS on your car isn't GOOD. I mean if you are really paranoid, you'd think that the government would be able to track you wherever you go. And worse, this kind of crime can happen in ANY dealership. From Toyota to Lexus, people everywhere can be affected negatively just because of some MAD ex-employee. 

This problem will only get worse if nothing is done. Imagine some employee gets fired. He can easily disable hundreds of cars just because he lost his job. We can't have this! Although GPS trackers on cars has it's advantage of being able to find where your car is if it is stolen. It doesn't really matter when your insurance will cover the price of your car if it is ever stolen. 

I don't think GPS trackers have the ability to disable your car. I'm thinking this is a custom LoJack system used to disengage the battery, which is necessary for starting the car.

Hell, even OnStar (if you subscribe to them) has the ability to shut down your car if it's stolen. The fear should be who can use it, it should be who is responsible enough to notice if anybody is abusing the system and if anybody will react quickly enough to fire the abuser. That's the fear we should be fearing on.

animatortom:
All this tech is great when used for the proper purposes. At this rate we will have T-1000's hunting us down, through the advancements we create. LOL To me this is the same mentality as Hackers who think it is cool to destroy other peoples lives. Making all of us buy new firewall software and anti-viruses, along with Lifelock and such.

I swear if they ever resurrect "The Sarah Conner Chronicles". They should have Terminators hacking into cars and driving it themselves, just so it can look awesome (while having the side effect of being terrifying.).

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To all who find this amusing, Understand the term oppression. Because it Will be coming to a lifestyle near you, real soon :O

The only good thing about this is that it has revealed the real practices being ensued upon consumers. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts, absolutely!

All this tech is great when used for the proper purposes. At this rate we will have T-1000's hunting us down, through the advancements we create. LOL To me this is the same mentality as Hackers who think it is cool to destroy other peoples lives. Making all of us buy new firewall software and anti-viruses, along with Lifelock and such.

On the other hand if his dismissal was unwarranted, IE: just to save an executive a few more dollars so he can take that trip to Thailand? Then yes this is very funny, even funnier if he was able to direct it solely towards the executives at the company.

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well blazarcher thats debatable considering there are good uses to it. things like it can be used for when its stolen, they just call up the dealership and let them know :) (Still wondering if the buyers knew about this)

@realneil Does he ever get chased by the car owners thinking hes stealing the car? xD

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News:

One record even showed dead rapper Tupac Shakur as the owner of a 2009 vehicle.

When I saw this, I laughed. Tupac lives?

I cannot believe that they actually help repo departments find cars..glad I don't live in Austin...or Texas.

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Having a remote kill switch is smart for the dealerships. Great way to get your car back if someone is not making their payments. It's a bad situation all around when a repo happens. Both parties are losing out. But the dealership found a way to help protect themselves a bit.

Unfortunately it was used inappropriately. Which will probably cause some law to be placed (10 years from now lol) to require consent from the customer before such a device is placed in the car.

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This is a quite funny hearing a news like this! I guess cars today if filled with tons of electrical devices that is connected to a computer. I own a car and I don't want any of my dodge neon parts getting tinkered by any lunatic hacker.

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Just one more reason never never let the dealer install any thing "extra" lol

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holy crap thats awesome Big Smile i know bout all kinds of hacking but this is definitly the coolest and funniest i've heard of! why hasnt a computer hacker got into there systems and shutdown all the cars yet? they need to stop worrying about stealing money and just do it for fun Big Smile

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in some Louisiana auto repair they can disabled the cars too. I just had Bambi disable my car last night, deactivated the crap out of it. I'm just thankful it wasn't Bullwinkle or it would be me deactivated...lol

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