Buyers' advice, industry, Motoring News, vehicle security

Shocking survey shows 50% of cars are theft risks

  • Car theft in UK at his worst in a decade
  • Check with your dealers to see if your car is safe
  • Even big-bucks luxury vehicles are susceptible

LONDON, England – Thatcham, vehicle security experts in the UK, have assessed the security features over a range of entry and expensive cars and SUVs and what they have to report is scary…

You might have paid a small fortune for your car but it seems whatever you pay has little effect on its chances of being nicked. Is yours one of them?

Read on… many of them involve keyless entry/start vulnerability.

*Keyless entry/start system assessed within rating whether available as an option or fitted as standard. **Suzuki Jimny does not have a keyless entry/start system as standard or an option.

For instance, Audi e-tron, Jaguar XE, Land Rover Evoque and Mercedes B-Class 2019 models were rated ‘Superior’ but 2019 Ford Mondeo, Hyundai Nexo, Kia ProCeed, Lexus UX, Porsche Macan and Toyota Corolla rated ‘Poor’ .

Each due, Thatcham says, to keyess entry/start vulnerability.

Suzuki’s Jimny scored an ‘Unacceptable’ security rating, despite not having one of the problematic keyless entry / start systems.

UNDERSTAND THE RISK

Policing Minister Nick Hurd, National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for vehicle crime Graham McNulty and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) endorsed the findings.

Thatcham Research launched security ratings to help potential buyers to understand the theft risk of new cars against a backdrop of increasing vehicle theft. The new ratings assess whether measures to specifically address the keyless entry/start vulnerability were adopted.

Six of the 11 vehicles launched this year earned a ‘Poor’ rating because their keyless entry/start systems had no security measures to prevent theft by criminals using the so-called ‘Relay Attack’ technique.

Without this option, the overall security features were classified as ‘Good’.

KEYLESS ENTRY VOIDS SECURITY

Richard Billyeald, Thatcham Research chief technical officer, told The Corner in a media release: “This initiative focuses on addressing keyless entry/start vulnerability. We’ve seen too many examples of cars stolen in seconds from driveways.

”Now any vehicle assessed against the new Thatcham Research Security Rating and has a vulnerable keyless entry/start system, will automatically not achieve the best rating.

“Security has come a long way since vehicle crime peaked in the early 1990’s but layers of security added over the years count for nothing when they can be circumvented instantly by criminals using a digital device.

”The shame is that most of the cars that were rated ‘Poor’ would have achieved at least a ‘Good’ rating had their keyless entry/start system not been fitted.”

GOOD NEWS – THERE ARE SOLUTIONS!

He added: “We’re really pleased to see that the latest Audi e-tron, Jaguar XE, Land Rover Evoque and Mercedes B-Class were all awarded ‘Superior’. These automakers have made significant strides in addressing keyless entry/start vulnerability by switching to better wireless technology or introducing keyfobs that go to sleep when idle.

”This shows there are solutions and fixes… which we expect other manufacturers to include on future models.

“Our guidance for worried drivers is, first, to understand that whether your vehicle has keyless entry/start or not (it’s often an optional extra). If it has, check whether a solution is available with your keyfob… can it be turned off overnight or does it go to sleep when not being used?

THERE IS A QUICK SOLUTION…

Faraday shielding pouches can be effective but test first to make sure they block the signal. Many are designed for credit cards so make sure they still close fully ,with a set of keys inside, to ensure maximum effectiveness.

“Storing all sets of keys, spares included, away from household entry points is also important as it hampers the criminal’s ability to relay the signal. (drivers often leave their car keys on the hall table or kitchen counter – Ed)

“Finally, in some cases it is possible to turn of the system entirely. Check with your dealer.”

Thatcham Research says it will continue to rate the security of all new vehicles launched in the UK and make the ratings available via its website and Twitter feed.

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