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How to protect yourself from keyless car theft


Between April 21 and March 22 over 100,000 vehicles were stolen in England and Wales. Did you know keyless cars are twice as likely to be stolen than normal cars? [1].

What are keyless cars?

Keyless cars feature an entry system and start-up button and are now a common feature in modern cars. This means you can unlock and lock your vehicle without using a traditional key. This eliminates the need to dig about for keys in your bag. Keyless ignition systems also allow you to start your vehicle without inserting a key into the ignition. Instead, you start the engine with the push of a button.

However, this has bred new criminals using the weaknesses in keyless car systems to their advantage.

In this blog, we’ll show you how keyless car theft works, thieves’ methods, and the ways you can protect your vehicle.

What is Keyless car theft?

Keyless car theft is a complex form of vehicle theft that targets cars equipped with keyless entry and start systems. Unlike traditional car theft, where physical car keys are required, keyless car theft exploits wireless signals to gain unauthorized access to a vehicle.

How does Keyless car theft work?

Thieves can steal keyless cars in two ways:

  1. ‘Relay attack’: This is the most common method used in keyless car theft. It involves two criminals working together. One person stands near the targeted car, while the other stands near the owner’s house with a relay amplifier. The amplifier captures the weak signal emitted by the key fob inside the house and relays it to the criminal near the vehicle, tricking the car into thinking the key fob is nearby. They can then easily unlock and start the car[2].
  2. ‘Signal jamming’: This involves blocking or disrupting the communication between the key fob and the car. Criminals use devices that emit radio frequency interference, preventing the car from receiving the signal to lock itself. This allows thieves to gain access to the vehicle without any forced entry[3].

How can I protect my car from keyless car theft?

Red fabric Faraday pouch with a black car key on a green background

While keyless car theft poses a significant threat, there are several measures you can take to protect your vehicle:

  1. Buy a Faraday pouch: These pouches are designed to block all incoming and outgoing signals, isolating your key fob from potential hackers. Keeping your key fob inside a Faraday pouch when not in use can prevent relay attacks and signal amplification.
  2. Keep on top of System Updates: Stay informed about any software updates or security patches released by your vehicle’s manufacturer. Regularly updating the keyless car system can help avoid potential security weaknesses.
  3. Use physical security measures: Consider additional physical security measures such as steering wheel locks, wheel clamps, or car alarms. These make it more difficult for thieves to steal your vehicle.
  4. Plan strategic parking: Park your car in well-lit and secure areas, preferably in garages or areas covered by CCTV surveillance. Thieves are less likely to target vehicles that are difficult to access or under constant surveillance.
  5. Get the correct Insurance coverage: Ensure your vehicle is adequately insured against theft. Consult with your insurance provider to understand your coverage and any additional anti-theft measures you can take, that may lower your premiums.

Keyless car theft is a growing concern as criminals adapt to exploit technological advancements. By understanding the ways thieves operate and taking preventative measures, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to keyless car theft.

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[1] How to prevent keyless car theft | Comparethemarket

[2] How to prevent keyless car theft | Comparethemarket

[3] Same Range Rover stolen twice from ‘millionaires’ row’ in Sutton Coldfield – Birmingham Live (