foil keyless entry thefts
Share this article
  • 10
  •  
  •  
  • 108
  •  
  •  
    118
    Shares

THE world turns to be more hazardous every day making the big screen movie Gone in 60 Seconds thefts scenario increasingly feasible. However, there is good news: technology evolves in leaps and bounds, too and there are ways to foil keyless entry thefts.

Thousands of innovative security devices and gadgets have been introduced to the market in recent years – from perhaps the most effective CCTV to diverse smart locks that are being enhanced and elaborated . Well, keyless entry door locks are among them. It is claimed they provide high-level security but is that to be the case?

A RECENT incident when thieves hacked the keyless start system of a Mercedes in the West Midlands shows clearly how defenceless your car can be.

It is surprisingly easy to trick the system of the vehicle into opening the doors and starting the engine when ‘professionals’ hit the ground running. The relay box criminals took advantage of can simply receive the signal from the key (whether it is in the car or at home) transmitting it to another box placed next to the vehicle and… voila!

Moreover, if you take into consideration that the number of all stolen vehicles in 2016 reached 91,000 – up from 70,000 in 2013, the need to protect your car won’t seem exaggerated anymore.

How to foil keyless entry thieves

The wisest decision is consulting your car dealer or a reliable locksmith for some professional security advice. They can inform you about any latest software updates available. Here we have also outlined a few simple ways to safeguard your keyless vehicle.

First of all, keep your keys in a secure place inside the house but away from exterior doors, windows and walls as the relay box picks the signal even through barriers. Interestingly, the box doesn’t receive signals through metal.

Some keyless entry fobs have a function that allows the car owner to turn the fob on and off. If you are that lucky motorist who has this kind of fob, do switch it off during the night.

Being cautious has never come amiss! If you witness any suspicious activity in your neighbourhood, do not hesitate in contacting the police.

Consider aftermarket security devices such as Thatcham-approved trackers: these devices are monitored around the clock by a control centre that is capable of liaising directly with the police and guiding them. This in turn helps to spot the car location easily and quickly.

We just wanted to let you know...
We have an exclusive range of new vehicle leasing special offers this month available to all our readers...

Old-fashioned mechanical locks including different steering wheel locks, pedal to steering wheel locks, gearstick locks and brake pedal locks will also scare away the offenders.

On top of everything, the research shows there are some car models that are at higher risk of being hacked through radio transmitters. So, the five most vulnerable vehicles are:

  1. Kia Optima;
  2. Renault Kadjar;
  3. Renault Megane;
  4. Vauxhall Astra;
  5. MINI Clubman

Nonetheless, keyless entry makes our life a bit easier and the chances that we will refuse to invest in state-of-the-art vehicles are extremely low. So, all we can do is learn the weak points of the car and enforce it or add another layer of security.

Do you have a car leasing question?
Feel free to ask us your question

Share this article
  • 10
  •  
  •  
  • 108
  •  
  •  
    118
    Shares

1 COMMENT

  1. I thought this was a very interesting article.

    I might be wrong, but as I understand it, standard remote locking fobs, which require the user to press a button and manually insert the key into the steering column, are not vulnerable to this sort of technique. However, systems which offer no-touch access and activation of the ignition are.

    Perhaps you could clarify for me, because the first thing that popped into my head when I read the article was ‘so they can get into my car with this technique, but how do they actually start it without my key?’

    Thank you Kevin for your comment – I have to say I don’t know the answer, so I asked the experts at Thatcham to explain, writes editor Ralph Morton. Here’s what they had to say:

    A ‘transmitter relay’ attack exploits a vulnerability in a vehicle’s keyless entry system, with criminals amplifying or capturing the signal from a keyless or ‘smart’ fob.

    Keyless fobs, which should not be confused with standard remote fobs, allow drivers to easily open and start their vehicle without pressing the fob or even having to remove it from their pocket.

    At Thatcham we are working closely with the Police and vehicle manufacturers to address this vulnerability, continuing our approach that has driven vehicle crime down 80% from its peak in 1992.

    Thatcham Research has these security tips for drivers with keyless entry systems:

    Contact your dealer and talk about the digital features in your car. Have there been any software updates you can take advantage of?

    Check if your keyless entry fob can be turned off. If it can, and your dealer can also confirm this, then do so overnight.

    Store your keys away from household entry points. Keeping your keyless entry fob out of sight is not enough – thieves only need to gain proximity to the key to amplify the signal.

    Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood – and report anything unusual to the Police.

    Review your car security. Check for aftermarket security devices such as Thatcham-approved mechanical locks and trackers, which are proven to deter thieves. A list can be found on the Thatcham Research website, here.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here