MSc student embarks on research to prevent car theft in SA

Marelize Santana -- Tue, 10/08/2019 - 12:12

MSc student embarks on research to prevent car theft in SA

Vehicle security is a major concern in South Africa, especially with the latest national crime statistics revealing that more than 48 000 cars and motorbikes were stolen in the last financial year.

While this is a slight reduction on the previous year, the figure remains alarming.

Mawonde Kudakwashe, an MSc computer science graduate, is tackling the problem head on and recently published research on the prevention of car theft in South Africa.

His research topic was “Vehicular ad-hoc network-based anti-theft model for car theft prevention in South Africa”.

The underlying problem, says Mawonde, is that vehicles already on the road have inefficient security technology, while the vehicles being manufactured use variations of the old technology without removing all the weaknesses.

Alternatively, new technologies introduce new ways for perpetrators to compromise the security of the vehicles.

Security system based on networking, cryptography and biometrics

“There is a need for a new approach in handling security that not only addresses the problems of the past, but ensures that no additional avenues are created through the introduction of new technology,” says Mawonde.

“This will help in the development and introduction of more robust security systems and technologies, and further reduce the rate of vehicle theft and hijackings.”

In attempting to address the theft pandemic, Mawonde introduced a new security system based on networking, cryptography and biometrics. This system aims to safeguard the vehicle through robust security mechanisms and sensors to detect hardware tempering. It also generates a one-time password to ensure security keys are not reused and to prevent information being compromised if data is intercepted.

He used simulation techniques to test the effectiveness of the system, and evaluated the results using a multitude of mobile devices, a wireless network and different computers running Windows and Linux.

Foiling criminals

Mawonde is enthusiastic about technology in all its forms and facets. He says he appreciates how technology evolves to suit the needs of the world and individuals.

“I am concerned about how bad people exploit the inherent weaknesses that arise from newly implemented technology and look forward to mitigating the threats that plague new technology as a result of these bad actors,” he says.

“I believe in a responsible evolution of technology where each advancement comes with a set of measures that stop its abuse by those who have the know-how.”

Mawonde Kudakwashe conducted research on prevention of car theft in South Africa.