As keyless entry and start technology becomes more commonplace, we think it’s important that drivers know how this new technology is susceptible to thieves and how to protect their cars.
How Are Keyless Cars Stolen?
Keyless cars will usually have a fob, card or phone app that you use to access the vehicle rather than a traditional key you insert into the lock or ignition.
They will use wireless signals that when in close proximity or when a particular direction (on an app or by pressing a fob button) will unlock or start the vehicle. This signal can be hacked or boosted to enable thieves to access the vehicle without needing a physical fob.
The technology used to access and then boost the keys signal can be purchased for under £100 and some of the better relay devices can transmit a signal for over 100 metres.
Reducing the Risk of Keyless Theft
1. Move Your Keys
We know it’s convenient to keep your keys by the front door, but this can make it easier for thieves to take them or in the case of wireless keys to hack into them. If you keep your keys by the front door then we recommend moving them to an area further into the house, and away from your car.
2. Buy a Faraday Pouch
Another way you can prevent the signal from being hijacked is to put your keys in a signal blocking faraday pouch or box. These can be picked up relatively cheaply and will block your keys’ signal so you will still be able to keep them close to the door.
Some people have also found that putting their keys in the fridge blocks the signal though we would advise getting a faraday pouch.
3. Update Your Software
Car manufacturers are aware of relay theft and how their models may be vulnerable to thieves so they will regularly update their software to protect vehicles from any system weaknesses or vulnerabilities that are discovered. That’s why it’s important that you keep up to date with software updates from the manufacturer.
Your vehicle may let you know when it needs an update or you will usually be able to subscribe to a notification from the manufacturer that will let you know when there is a software update. Some will be able to be installed using a vehicle’s wireless internet connection whilst others may require you to take the vehicle to a dealership.
4. Keep Your App Up to Date
It’s not just the vehicle software you should keep up to date. If you can remotely control features of your car from your phone then you should make sure that you install all of the app updates, as well as keeping the phone’s software up to date, to make sure it that it is as secure as possible.
5. Use a Physical Barrier
A final way that you can protect your car, whether it’s keyless or not, is to have a physical barrier in place.
They might not be very trendy, but a steering wheel lock, clutch lock or parking brake lock makes your car much harder to steal.
A smaller way you can make your car harder to steal using a physical obstacle is to park your vehicle on a driveway, behind a gate or in a secure car park as it makes it harder for thieves to reach your car in the first place.
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