Security experts’ advice to protect against keyless car thefts

Security experts’ advice to protect against keyless car thefts
Security experts’ advice to protect against keyless car thefts

In the wake of new footage showing a car being stolen by remote access, security experts are urging drivers to take action to protect themselves.

The CCTV clip released this week by West Midlands Police shows a Mercedes being stolen from outside its owner’s house by thieves using a relay box to fool the car’s security systems.

Relay boxes work by picking up signals from a car’s key fob and transmitting them to a second box held near the car. The relayed signal fools the car’s systems into thinking that the actual key is present and allows the thieves to open and start the car.

Regular remote locking fobs, which require a button press, are not vulnerable to such attacks but the increasingly common keyless entry and start systems, which allow no-touch access to cars are.

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at security specialists Thatcham Research commented: “Keyless entry systems on cars offer convenience to drivers, but can in some situations be exploited by criminals. Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for information and guidance, and follow our simple security steps.”

“We are working closely with the police and vehicle manufacturers to address this vulnerability.”

In the wake of the footage, Thatcham Research has issued five tips for drivers worried that their car might be vulnerable to such a theft:

  1. Contact your dealer and talk about the digital features in your car. Have there been any software updates you can take advantage of?
  2. Check if your keyless entry fob can be turned off. If it can, and your dealer can also confirm this, then do so overnight.
  3. 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.
  4. Be vigilant. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your neighbourhood – and report anything unusual to the police.
  5. 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

Cars in direct sunlight can 'reach deadly temperatures in just one hour'

Holiday season is fast approaching but, for families hoping to rent a car in a sunny destination, new research revealing hot cars can hit deadly

Ultra-rare Venturi Atlantique 300 for sale

Ever heard of Venturi? Maybe not, but even if you haven’t, just look at it…It was back in 1984 when two French car designers,

Bank holiday travel: these are the routes to avoid as experts warn of roads chaos

Drivers are being urged to plan ahead and avoid some of Britain’s most popular roads

Data shows women are better drivers - in theory

It’s an argument that has raged for almost as long as cars have been around - are men or women better drivers?Now, new analysis of driving