Keyless Cars Are An Easy Target For Thieves

A keyless feature on a vehicle is a great convenience for drivers. However, this new technology is making it easier for thieves to drive away with a car without having to do any dirty work.

Keyless vehicles allow drivers to open and start their cars without a key as long as a fob is nearby. The fob is recognized by one of the vehicle’s antennas and the radio pulse generator in the key housing. At first, this feature was only available on high-end vehicles but with more technological advances, it has become more standard on more affordable car models.

Even when the fob is not near the car, it continuously shares information back and forth with the car it is paired with. This is where the opportunity arises for thieves to take advantage of this new technology and access this information.

Thieves are using a new relay attack device to steal the information being transmitted from the key fob to the car, even if the fob is inside a house. Thieves are also using an amplifying device to take steal the signals being shared from inside the house.

Because of the rise in theft of keyless cars, the National Insurance Crime Bureau tested 35 different keyless car vehicle models manufactured between 2010–2017. Of these 35, 18 were able to be opened using an amplifier and relay attack device. These devices only found to effective on vehicles with a fob and a push to start button.

Insurance companies may also be prompted to increase the price of auto insurance policies for cars that are more susceptible to hackers and thieves due to these new features.

Despite how easy it the process sounds, the process is more complicated than more traditional robbery methods. Cars that are left unlocked and or with keys inside them are still more likely to be stolen.

If you have a keyless car and are worried about becoming a victim to this new type of theft, there are simple steps you can take to prevent it from happening to you.

A wheel lock will prevent thieves from driving away with your car even if they are able to obtain the information from the fob using an amplifier. People should also always lock the doors at all times and keep valuables out of sight. To prevent information from being stolen, wrapping a fob in aluminum foil or storing it in a metal can stop amplifiers and relay attack devices from stealing information.