After CCTV was revealed showing the theft of a car using keyless technology, vehicle safety and security experts at Thatcham have offered some advice for keyless-equipped-car owners.
The ‘transmitter relay’ attack seen in the footage shows the vulnerability of keyless entry cars, which allow drivers to easily open and start their car without having to remove the key from their pocket.
Recent data shows that 91,000 vehicles were stolen in 2016, up from 70,000 in 2013. However, this data relates to all vehicles, not just cars, and not just keyless entry cars either. Car crime peaked in 1992, a year which saw 620,000 thefts.
'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,' said Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research.
'We are working closely with the police and vehicle manufacturers to address this vulnerability, continuing our approach that has driven vehicle crime down 80 percent from its peak in 1992.'
Thatcham Research 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.