How Car Manufacturers Are Fighting Back Against Keyless Car Theft

Thu 4th Jul 2019

The spike in thefts of cars from so-called relay technology could be over, with motor manufacturers taking a stand against the crimewave.

Car theft rose by nine per cent last year, and experts across the industry are pointing to the key less car technology as the main reason, with savvy criminals able to hack the software and gain easy entry to vehicles. With 112,000 motors stolen last year, insurers have promised higher premiums for those cars that employ vulnerable keyless systems, which means that buyers might think twice about buying a car with the tech installed.

Now the big manufacturers have addressed the concerns and found relay-busting solutions which should make the cars a lot more difficult to steal.

Subaru have added a pin code element to their keyless entry system, whilst Ford claim their keyless car entry cannot be hacked as the wireless key goes to sleep if it isn’t moved for more than 40 seconds. Other major manufacturers have allowed owners to turn the technology off by deactivating their wireless keys. Kia have provided owners with a free Faraday pouch, which blocks the radio waves from communicating with the car, though some suggest that these are not foolproof.

Tim Shallcross, head of technical policy at IAM RoadSmart, said: “Many car makers seem to be going back half a stage; you have to press a button on the key fob to unlock the car, then once you’re inside the car will start at the press of the button, without the need to insert a key.

“The car no longer sends a trigger signal to the key fob, making it in turn unlock the car.

“It was these signal that thieves detected and amplified to steal keyless entry cars. So you have keyless starting, but not keyless entry.

“Alternatively some keyless fobs can be turned off when the car’s locked and left for the night – see the owner’s handbook or ask the dealer.”