The convenience of keyless entry on a car – no more rooting around in your bag or pockets. A great invention.
But did you know that cars with keyless entry can easily be stolen by thieves using cheap electronic equipment bought online?
According to a recent Which? report (1) “the German General Automobile Club (ADAC) tested 237 keyless cars (2) (models that unlock and start automatically when the key is close by) and found that thieves can easily trick (3) 230 of them into thinking that the key is closer than it really is, enabling them to unlock and start the car.
A further four cars could be either unlocked or started. Only three – all from Jaguar Land Rover – were not susceptible at all. This means 99% of the cars tested had some form of security flaw.”
It makes for scary reading but there are ways to help prevent your precious vehicle becoming one of these statistics:
- Invest in a steering wheel lock – even a cheap one will act as a deterrent.
- As cars are more likely to be stolen at night consider where you park. If you don’t have a garage you could think about installing CCTV outside your home or park under a street light.
- Store your key as far away from your front door and windows as possible – reducing the risk of thieves being able to ‘extend’ the key’s signal.
- Store your key fob inside a metal box as this will block the signal. But make sure to test it works – the key needs to be completely surrounded by a metal layer to be protected from a relay attack.
- Contact your car’s manufacturer to find out if there are any extra steps you can take.
(2) You can view the full list of cars tested by ADAC here
(3)Thieves use two ‘relay’ boxes’ – one by the car and the other close by the house to strengthen the signal produced by your car key (known as a ‘relay’ attack). In the majority of cases they can then open and start your car – and drive it away.