How Did They Get into My VW Golf Mk6?

My car has been broken into twice now in the last 6 months. Parked at a similar location on my street. Both times no signs of break in found, no chipped paint around doors, no broken windows or broken rubber seals.

I consider myself pretty careful with locking doors. First time it happened, sure, maybe I had forgotten to lock my doors (even though I find it hard to believe). But especially since after the first time, I have always made triply sure to lock the car. On days I don't drive, I'll even spam my remote whenever I walk past it just to see it flash and hear it lock.

Nothing much of value was taken, lesson learnt from the first time around. But I'm perplexed by just how they got into my car??

Getting broken into feels extremely violating and is, embarrassingly, causing me tremendous stress.

Any ideas/tips on how I can prevent it from happening would be great! Or even sharing your stories.

Car is a VW Golf Mk6 if it means anything.

Comments

  • +12 votes

    I'll even spam my remote…

    Someone scan your frequency

  •  

    Does your car have remote keyless entry (without needing to press a button on the key fob)? If so, then maybe this:

    https://www.whichcar.com.au/car-news/popular-cars-vulnerable...

    This form of theft is called relay attack, which works by placing a router-like box next to the vehicle and another close to where you leave your key, such as at your front door. The second box acts as a relay that strengthens the radio signal from the key fob to the car, which in many cases results in being able to open the door and start it.

    These included popular current models dating as far back as 2014 including the Honda HR-V, Hyundai i30, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda 3 and CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Opel Insignia (Holden Commodore), Subaru XV and Forester, and Volkswagen Golf.

    •  

      I've read about this too! Mine is a base model without keyless entry though

      • +1 vote

        I'll even spam my remote whenever I walk past it just to see it flash and hear it lock.

        Aftermarket remote lock/unlock is considered keyless entry. Older style, granted.
        Unless your system uses a rolling/skipping code system, it's likely someone is scanning the code with a $5 DX gizmo.

    • +2 votes

      i am absolutely amazed that all car alarms don't use a rolling code in this day and age

      • +2 votes

        I bet it is. This attack is a MITM one IIRC, it attacks a weakness by impersonating the fob- ie collecting and relaying the data.

        The cause of 'unlocked car' is most likely just human error. If not, someone who broke in without causing damage is likely to have done something that would make it obvious inside the car, or simply stolen it or something from inside it. Did you find the glove box open, door ajar, etc.?

        If inside it was not upset, chances are noone entered the vehicle. Petty thieves are messy, always, and invariably leave doors ajar rather than make a noise closing them

        However, these are critical systems so no expense is spared in making them highly reliable. As such, they are extremely well tested by teams of very feisty engineers. Not thrown together at the last moment, or developed separately by a third party. And yours is one in a line of many iterations of Golf, let alone VW's locking systems.

        If you still deny your part, there is a way for you to verify if it was the car. Simply connect a 'VAG' type OBDII scanner to read the codes from the car's body modules. There is a locking module in each door, the lighting, central module and all the related ones (windows, alarm, drive away protection, immobiliser, fob radio, ignition and transponder, sunroof, etc.). If the locking system experienced any fault, one or more errors will be logged in the vehicle's body electronics. Golfs are very god for this sort of thing, and although MITM attacks like the one above can be used to attack them, they take a fair bit of effort and would only be used by people most intent on their target.

  •  

    Get a dashcam and point it at your door, see if you catch them next time.

    • +5 votes

      Would probably get stolen if they're caught on it anyway ahaaa

      • +1 vote

        My dashcam was stolen the first time around! But a dashcam point out my house could be an idea

        • -5 votes

          Hahahahahaha, unlucky…..maybe have a dashcam that points to another dash cam which points back so you know who/what took it —oh wait, that's right you still need to retrieve the dashcams to get the footage back…….unless the dashcams uploads the footage in realtime wirelessly to an external device that's hopefully well hidden inside the car that you can just take out and pop into your computer to watch?

          …failing that, boobie trap your car(or dash cam…)……wrap it with some electrical and razor fencing, anyone touches your car/dashcam, ZAPPPP! and hopefully falls to the ground paralyzed/passed out ready for you to dish out justice to them when you wake up and see a dead body lying next to your car…..

          hahaha

  •  

    Did you check that all doors and the hatch were all locked?

    Had issues on a Corolla where it locked the doors but not the hatch.

  • +5 votes

    Don’t leave anything of value in your car. Not even any coins, no matter how small. Take everything out including the owners manual and service books if they are in there. If there is nothing to take, then they won’t target you after a few tries turns up nothing.

    As a locksmith and a mechanic, I am gobsmacked at the amount of people who leave the key code tags in their car. All I need to do is view these numbers and write them down and I can make an exact key to just open that car.

    It’s likely that they either have some tools, a key or just got lucky. I don’t they are particularly smart these people, so they don’t usually have a lot in the way of specialised tools to steal $8 worth of coins.

    If it’s a 2nd hand car, it may be a previous owner gaining access or one of their friends. This is a reason I don’t buy cars that don’t come with both keys if buying privately.

    Remove the temptation usually removes the involvement. Empty your vehicle of anything and they will soon get sick of opening up a car and risk getting caught for no gain.

    •  

      Car was bought from family, but it was bought brand new. In it I had a package of gum, couple CDs and some old receipts.

      But yes, as frustrating as it is, I'm going to keep it rental car empty. Not sure if they were by the same group of people, would've thought they would remember that they've ransacked it before. Nothing of value was lost this time but its the feeling of getting your stuff broken into that's bothersome.

  •  

    I’ve had it happen to me too. Too many times, but each time it’s beem the car being left unlocked. There was a spate of thefts in it suburb a while back too. Stealing little bits and pieces from unlocked cars according to the Facebook group. Based on that I wouldn’t be surprised if car doors are checked by opportunistic thieves every couple of months or so.

    No matter how many times I check I still manage to leave the car/s unlocked semi regularly despite being caught out.

    •  

      We've had a lot of car break ins in the surrounding suburbs. A lot of people now leave their cars unlocked so the thieves don't smash their windows for nothing instead. Sad times 🙁

      •  

        Jeez, where's that?

        • +2 votes

          Cockburn (yeah , terrible name) , Western Australia. I join a community Facebook group and multiple posts nightly about people looking into cars, tools stolen, fences climbed. They don't even care anymore that they are on cameras! Oddly enough, pot plants and plants are being stolen as well.

          Not even close to the worse suburbs in WA though

          •  

            @MeesusEff: I've never seen anyone smash a car window to steal shit, only on abandoned or what looks like abandoned cars at least….

            • +1 vote

              @Zachary: Yeah, lots of bogany, meth heads around now, they'll smash a window for just silver coins they don't care anymore because its just a slap on the wrist if they do get caught anyway. Lots of them just go banging on the front door as well or walk into backyards when people are home, any time of the day/night.

            • +1 vote

              @Zachary: Funny because I just saw this post last night too. Also, lots of car windows just get smashed for fun (by underage "kids") at the shops, train stations etc. One time, there were about 20 cars that had windows/windscreens smashed at the station. Had a lot of rock throwers as well, one man died, haven't heard the kid being charged with anything. Recently 2 kids around 10 went to a car dealership and caused $100k damage. Bring back caning I say.

              https://files.ozbargain.com.au/upload/126302/67725/20190320_...

  • +1 vote

    Aftermarket key fobs are cheaper but open more doors than you may realise

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-14/aftermarket-key-locks...

  • +4 votes

    You're sleep walking mate.

  •  

    Was the car bought brand new?

  • +3 votes

    I'll even spam my remote whenever I walk past it just to see it flash and hear it lock.

    Better idea here is to physically check the door handle. If you spam the remote, you could be supplying the Man In The Middle relay attack with additional codes. Your remote operates on a rolling code, creating and destroying one time access codes. The Man In The Middle relay attack stores the first code it receives, and doesn't pass it onto the lock. This makes the user press the keyfob again under the mistaken belief that it somehow didn't work. The attacker can then return at their leisure to effect access to the car with the unspent code.

  •  

    Have you checked if one or more of locks on the doors is broken, and not actually locking when you press the remote?

  • +2 votes

    Common issue on the golfs is the door lock actuators play up. When you think it's locked, you probably actually have a door unlocked still. After you've locked it, check each door. There is no other way to unlock one of those. I've had to get them open when an actuator has failed in the locked position, and it's a nightmare even when you have access to the inside of the car.

  • +3 votes

    I have a Skoda Octavia Mk2. It's the Golfs fatter, uglier sister.

    On the Skoda, the first hit of the lock button deadlocks the doors. The second hit disengages the deadlocks (its so passengers can get out if you want to lock car with passengers inside).

    I would assume Golfs are the same. Maybe you are disengaging the deadlocks?

  •  

    Explain your problem to the car owner who parks in front and behind your car and ask them if you can put motion activated dash cams to catch the culprits in the act?…a few old CDs and a $5 note should do as bait😁Good luck.

  • +1 vote

    Better idea here is to physically check the door handle.

    What he said. On my Subaru Liberty you can appear to "lock" it with the remote - but it is not locked. The lights flash, but you can still open any of the doors.

    This can be if 1 of the doors is not closed properly, or last time it happened was when the door switch was broken and the inside light wouldn't turn off automatically. I couldn't lock the friggen car for days until I replaced the switch.

  •  

    If you suspect a relay attack, you need to store ALL the car keys in a faraday cage, which is basically a metal box that blocks the RF signal: https://mashable.com/2017/11/28/protect-your-car-wireless-re...

    • +4 votes

      Put the car in a faraday cage also.

      •  

        Easy to do. Buy yourself some concrete mesh (or chicken cage wire even cheaper) and line the garage wall and ceiling.

        EDIT: Geez I must be blind. This ^ is the video I saw too. I get it now. THE KEYS WERE INSIDE THE OWNER'S HOUSE!!!

  • +2 votes

    If your car gives you a Safelock warning when you exit on the instrument cluster screen, you might be unsuspectingly deactivating a certain feature that makes it hard to gain access to the car by spamming it with "locks".

    http://www.vwgolf.org/safelock_mechanism-62.html

    That link also tells you how you can check the safelock mechanism is functioning correctly (or malfunctioning) using the little red light that flashes on the door trim. (or at least that is where it is located on my MK7 Golf).

    • +1 vote

      Thanks for the link. Never knew about the deadlock function. It's a base model so it doesn't have any alarms but I think the deadlock feature still applies.

  •  

    Stop parking on the street.

  •  

    Is it a stop-start with a push button start engine? If so, a youtube vid I saw said it's even easier to spoof than traditional key start, due to no real immobiliser in those. If you access one part you a access it all.

    The guy spoofed and opened a $200K Merc just by scanning the car alone with some device, WITHOUT HAVING THE KEYS OR REMOTE!!!

    I guess car security is going backwards.

    • +1 vote

      I guess car security is going backwards.

      Yes but think about all that effort saved by not having to turn the key!

  •  

    Im not sure if this would work, but if the guys are using the signal booster thingies from the front door to the car, what about if at night you keep the keys or remote in the microwave to block signals? Just thinking "outside the box" :) obviously unplug the microwave every night just to be safe.

  •  

    not 100% sure but some proximity entry systems seem to be set to unlock(powerfail) when car battery runs out as well.

  • +1 vote

    Someone got inside my car when I forgot to lock it once by mistake. Now I lock it every time.

  •  

    Happened to my VW Golf MK5 as well, while parked in a Wilson's parking lot. Car get automatically locked if left unclocked for a certain period (minutes) without key being in the ignition. So, it must be a break-in even if I forget to lock the doors.

    •  

      Or before it auto locks.

    •  

      My wife's Forester does this. I can unlock it, walk inside to get something, then find it auto-locked when I come back out so I have to unlock it again. That feature was never on my golf's.

      • +2 votes

        the way that usually works is that the car won't lock itself if you unlock->open the door->close the door, it will only lock itself if you unlock it, and don't open a door for a certain period of time.

      •  

        Mine is a highline. May be that explain it (not sure though).

  •  

    Spamming the lock button on the VW Golf disables the deadlock function of the car.

    IE. press it once, and the car is locked and you won't be able to get out even if your inside without the key. BUT, if you press the lock button again (or repeatedly), the car is then able to be opened from the inside (regardless if you have the key or not).

    NRMA tried to break into my old car and they failed after 1.5 hrs. Ended up going home and getting the spare key

    '

  •  

    After all this, I take it that the OP is none the wiser.

  • Top