Common handheld device can easily disable car's anti-theft systems.

Common handheld gadget to defeat factory electronic anti-theft system

It was made to repair vehicles, but is now being used by syndicates to steal cars.

The hand-held device costing RM10,000 (S$4,123) was invented as a tool to diagnose mechanical faults and is not a controlled item, said Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin.

"It is a device we cannot control as it is used by mechanics. It is even sold at flea markets in Jalan Pasar and Petaling Street," he ad­­ded.

A quick web search showed that the device could be bought online as well.

The high-tech tool was designed to plug remotely into the computer controlling a vehicle's fuel injection system.

Once in the system, the device can manipulate the car's alarm system as well.

When a thief can control the alarm system, it becomes easy to step into the car and drive it off.

"This ability to connect wirelessly with almost any vehicle makes the device an invaluable asset to car thieves," he said.

"As the device targets the computer system in a vehicle, luxury cars with high-tech security features are especially vulnerable," Comm Mohd Bakri added.

A similar device is used by enforcement officers in some countries to disable vehicles during high-speed chase.