Flaws of Car Tracking Devices and How to Overcome Them?

gps2By Jamshed Jadoon

Car Tracking technology has evolved a lot in past few years where its technology is still being developed and enhanced. This technology utilizes all commercially researched and developed technologies merged together as a solution. For understanding, a tracker device and its management systems use:-

  • GSM/GPRS for communication
  • GPS Satellites to determine location
  • Microcontrollers to function as a brain for the device
  • State of art server machines with powerful database solutions
  • Raster/Vector maps for geographical view

Lately the effectiveness of tracking devices against theft has fallen significantly as thieves are now becoming more aware about the technology and they know that it can be abused. There are some weaknesses in the technology (and society), which if addressed can give an edge to effectively use tracker technologies to reduce theft losses.

Technological Problems:

1. Tracker Uses GSM Technology to communicate, which is a wireless media and by use of GSM jammers the communication between tracker device and control system (of tracking companies) can be broken. Therefore, if jammed by a signaling device, tracker will not be able to update location (of your vehicle) nor can receive any command from control center. These GSM jammers have become a large-scale tool for car lifters that are available easily in the market.

Read this case study to know how car lifters use jamming devices to disable car trackers.

2. A thief, before accessing the tracker, has to first break into the vehicle, open doors, use vehicle’s electrical systems to power up his jamming device. With our current tracker setups, the tracking device is installed as a standalone unit and is not integrated into vehicle control systems.

If, somehow, tracking device is integrated with control system then tracker would disable car engine or power system if car window or door is broken.

3. There has been lack of research and development as tracker companies focus on features to attract customers not on security which is still in its basics.

Social Problems

1. GSM jammers are banned in Pakistan and selling them (without NOC from PTA) is chargeable offense, yet many companies are selling these products and hence there is no control over its usage.

There are sorts of retail and online stores that are freely selling GSM jammers (you can Google around to find an online retailor). Authorities concerned (PTA in collaboration with Police) should take note of this to stop such free sale of GSM jammers.

2. Vehicle owners do want security but they do not recognize their responsibilities. At times there are various tracker features that are not used by vehicle owners. Just for the record, there are many options in the tracker system which if observed can alert the owner in time in case of a theft. But vehicle owners never follow these instructions.

Vehicle owners should acquire all necessary training from tracker companies in order to fully understand the functionality and procedures of trackers, to make sure that they are fully capitalizing all the features available with their car trackers.

3. Use of Jammer detection system can further enhance chances of recovery. As tracker devices can now recognize GSM jammer devices and take action like disable vehicle engine or sound alarm. Yet its effectiveness is again not possible due to massive use of jammer devices by security vehicles, banks, mosques etc.. Therefore, use of jammer detector features become a nuisance for the vehicle owner.

4. Lack of coordination between police and technology companies. Police does not recognize the system nor can implement any solution. Though tracker is a solution for 80% recoveries yet it is never appreciated (by Police) rather it is always taken as a target.

Police needs to recognize this technology and bring efforts to discuss their findings with tracking technology experts so that they can enhance tracker systems.

5. Vehicle manufacturers are least bothered about vehicle security. They need to implement systems into their vehicles to make them compatible with tracker devices which can then be used to integrate tracker units into the vehicle computer systems to act as an internal part and not as an add-on. Such as, by offering door detection system, vehicle immobilizers, a safe place for tracker which could be temper proof inside vehicle body to hold tracking device and so.

Writer is Vice President and Head of MIS in Askari Insurance and has been working with Askari leasing and Askari Bank.

  • Yes, this is a very important issue. The tracking companies should also provide solutions for the jammers. What’s the point of installing if it can be breached by the use of jammers..

  • very true.automobiles companies are very non serious regarding security specialy toyota and suzuki.police attitude is also non serious regarding such incidents.tracker is kind of hope for recovery and almost 85 to 87 percent vehicles recovered this year through tracker.

  • 1. There must be some SOP between police and tracking companies. Maybe Rehman Malik can look into this? Sorry, I am not joking. If he can try to look in to the fake SIM matter then why not this one?|?|?
    2. Automobile manufacturers normally say that the warranty of electrical equipment would be voided in case of any alteration. But they should also be flexible enough atleast for the installation of Tracker.

  • Why not focus on the cause of the problem, rather than symptoms?

    People steal because there is a huge wealth gap disparity. There are some arab-pathi and a lot of people who live off of 5000 Rs a month. Why not cut spending to defense and put it in education? Oh because Islam.

  • Dear brother,
    Now we have introduce a anti jammer tracker for our clients,
    when a thief installed a jammer in a vehicle the vehicle engine killed and vehicle siren are enabled, and his jammer power is off.
    when tracking device register to GSM Network, then they send a jammer detection alert to control centre.
    ***no extra device***

  • What a case of copy pasting.. apparently some of the lines have been copied from a tracker solution provider… in the below paragraph what is meant by “with our solution” … :P

    P.s Aamir, please take some measure before posting the content by guest authors.


    “2. A thief, before accessing the tracker, has to first break into the
    vehicle, open doors, use vehicle’s electrical systems to power up his
    jamming device. With our current tracker setups, the tracking device is
    installed as a standalone unit and is not integrated into vehicle
    control systems. “

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