Thefts of keyless cars are on the rise. In fact, some stats show that thefts were up 10 percent in 2017-2018. The reason – keyless cars aren’t as secure as originally thought, according to The Guardian.
Half of this year’s newly launched cars – including the 2019 models of Ford Mondeo, Hyundai Nexo, Kia ProCeed, Lexus UX, Porsche Macan and Toyota Corolla – were given a poor security rating after investigators at Thatcham Research discovered that their keyless entry system could be bypassed by criminals, The Guardian says.
“We’ve seen too many examples of cars being stolen from driveways in seconds,” Richard Billyeald, the chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, told The Guardian. “Now, any vehicle that is assessed as having a vulnerable keyless entry system will automatically not achieve the best rating. Security has come a long way from the early 1990s, but the layers of security added over the years count for nothing when they can be circumvented instantly by criminals using digital devices.”
What makes these cars most vulnerable to thefts is criminals’ usage of specialized scanners, which relay a vehicle’s security entry code from the key fob. This can be done even if a car owner’s key fob is tucked away in his or her home.
Laurenz Gerger, the policy adviser for the Association of British Insurers, told The Guardian, “Car thieves have been having a field day lately, partly driven by the vulnerability of some cars to keyless relay theft. Crime stats show vehicle thefts are at their highest level for a decade.”
In order to minimize keyless car thefts, end users might consider storing all keys away from entry points in their homes, or even invest in a signal-blocking pouch. Or, end users might consider shutting down their keyless system altogether. That way, potential thieves will have a harder time relaying the signal needed to unlock and get away with a keyless car.