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Range Rover owners in France found a reprieve last Tuesday when the department of security arrested nine suspected gang members in Essonne. The thefts of over 68 Range Rovers, comprised of eight members, ages 18 -21 and a ninth, 34 years old. According to reports, the arrests occurred after a six month long investigation starting in January.
The gang had turned into a source of frustration to owners of luxury Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) with a particular taste and preference in the British Brand Range Rover. In an ironical twist, it took the young members under a minute to complete a theft of one of the best vehicles in the world. The gang found a way to override and manipulate doors on the brand of prestigious vehicles. In what has been termed ‘mouse jacking’ electronic technique. The so called mouse jacking tech is an attack on the vulnerability of wireless devices. By employing this tactic, highly intelligent thieves can gain access to vehicles without physically breaking in. This puts them in the category of a hacker essentially. The hacking on private networks similar to what is prevalent in Range Rover thefts is also on the rise.
Dark Web Materials Found
The group used tools obtained from the darknet and its dark web markets. It is reported that they can be bought for as low as $15 a device. The deep web has turned into the go-to place for such devices where people buy them anonymously. Thousands of modern tech crimes are increasingly being aided by the dark web. However, this is not aimed for violence. The majority of darknet market purchases are drugs, with weapons smuggling coming in at second. Criminal activity is focused on these two main products according to the 61st UN Commission on narcotic drugs.
Recently many data breaches have led to information personal and business being sold at a steal on the darknet but this is the first instance of high tech devices being the center of the investigation.
Here is an example of how “mouse jackers” are used:
The suspects spotted and marked their targets, in this case Range Rovers with built in gps and wifi systems. Devices were then use to jam all other radio waves, making the ability to lock the car impossible. Shortly after the victim walked away another member would force open the car door without causing any damage to it and install the jack connection to start the car automatically. This process took less than a minute from the moment the person exited their car to the thief driving off.
The majority of these thefts took place at Orly Airport in Paris, but even with surveillance units it was difficult to distinguish a thief from a person opening their car door and driving off the lot without any signs of forced entry.
The cars were immediately transferred to another member of the group in Avry on to their final destination in Africa for resale and parts distribution. The stolen vehicles were packed in containers at either Le Havre or Antwerp Ports where they would then be transported to countries in the African north coast. These Range Rovers appeared in Bamako Mali, and Conakry Guinea. The gang consisted purely of French nationalities. Even so, the better constitution of members was of Malian origins. Emanating from the Pyramids districts of Avry, police report that the gang composed of small time thugs without any major organization.
The group was arraigned by the Avry prosecutor’s office where they were indicted for organized crime, robbery and criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, investigations are still on going on how they were able to make past surveillance. The airport is well manned with several cameras at all exits. The security department at the airport refused to comment on the matter. Authorities are also still unaware of the amount the gang made from the proceeds of the resales. The highly rated SUVs traded around 37,000 Euros for brand new vehicles.
Vehicle thefts in the French nation are at an all time high with over 300 vehicles reportedly stolen on a daily basis. Going by these rates, cars are stolen at intervals of a car every five minutes. In the same statistics, Range Rover is the most stolen vehicle in Europe.