GM cars with OnStar tracking system are getting hacked. How it’s happening?

Although technological advances have enabled the development of more sophisticated security systems, hackers also have the ability to evolve in their methods. This is demonstrated by the continuous hacking reports against security systems integrated into smart vehicles, which can be easily compromised, as mentioned by experts of a cyber security course.

According to a report published by Fox News, a Texas driver suffered the theft of his vehicle within minutes, even though he had the OnStar tracking system. Jarrod Hamlin, the affected one, claims the thieves deactivated the system integrated into his truck in less than three minutes, and now demands that GM take appropriate action to address his case.

A surveillance camera detected how the thieves took the victim’s 2018 Chevy Silverado TX Edition LTZ pickup truck after a couple of minutes. Soon after, the vehicle was found, although its parts had already been removed by the criminals, who even took the OnStar system, the experts of the cyber security course mentioned.

“I just want to alert people. It doesn’t make sense to buy an OnStar subscription if the system can be deactivated in less than a minute,” Hamlin said. The victim believes the criminals disabled his OnStar system installed in his truck after hacking MyChevrolet, the mobile app associated with the company’s vehicles. In addition, Hamlin believes that this is possible by simply using a device that can be purchased from any online store. 

“Criminals hijack this device and can access the vehicle with the MyChevy app,” Hamlin added. Fox News reporters consulted Chevy and OnStar regarding the victim’s signaling, although none of the companies have responded.

However, reporters found that multiple users in nearby areas claimed, via Facebook, to have suffered similar (or virtually the same) thefts. The other cases also mention the OnStar system being disabled. In this regard, the Texas Police believe that this is a perfectly structured criminal gang: “They are not children playing criminals, they are professional car thieves. This type of stolen vehicles is highly demanded in Texas, so these thefts are continuously reported, as mentioned by cyber security course specialists.

Previously, an OnStar representative mentioned, “We are working with justice agencies in Texas to understand how gangs of car thieves operate. Still, we want to point out that OnStar is a vehicle recovery service, not an anti-theft system.”  

The International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) has reported similar incidents related to connected cars, which have been stolen multiple times by gangs taking advantage of some security flaws in their systems to steal luxury cars.