How Nintendo Game Boy is being used to unlock & steal cars without breaking their windows

Specialists in cloud computing security report a method by which hackers are turning retro video games have become thousands of dollar devices capable of opening a car without breaking its windows or compromising locks. Although there were already other methods to steal keyless system cars, criminals have opted to use this new variant that allows compromising a car without having to replicate a signal at very short distances.

These new devices, sold by the Bulgarian company SOS Auto Keys, are made up of components very similar to those of the classic Nintendo Game Boy handheld console. At the moment these devices’ worth is over $20k USD, although their price will decrease soon, the company mentions.

Although the sale of this device includes a warning against its use for malicious purposes, cloud computing security experts point out that it is really easy for a threat actor to obtain one of these products.

Through a YouTube video you can see how to use this device to open recent models from manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Hyundai or Kia in less than a minute. This “Game Boy hacker” records the car information and acts as an answering machine that the target car recognizes as an authorized control (fob). Finally, the car will open as if the SOS Key user used the legitimate fob.

Official Bulgarian figures reveal a 50% increase in vehicle theft, which in many cases involves the use of hacking methods. In view of this, the authorities have expressed concern about the launch of this device to the market, as its sale could lead to theft of cars to unusual levels.

On the other hand, specialists in cloud computing security point out that manufacturers’ low concern for the safety of these vehicles also plays a key role in the growth of this problem and the ability to use such a tool. Moreover, because this is a crime that is considered a low priority, it is really strange that the authorities seek out and prosecute these criminals.

Members of the cybersecurity community are still truly surprised by how easy the security systems of these cars have become tricked: “It’s as easy as stealing a vehicle in Grand Theft Auto,” says Jack Cousens, a specialist in keyless car systems. 

For further reports on vulnerabilities, exploits, malware variants and computer security risks, it is recommended to enter the website of the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS), as well as the official platforms of technology companies.