Home / Auto / Car theft CRISIS: Number of keyless entry cars stolen RISE – Is your car at risk?

Car theft CRISIS: Number of keyless entry cars stolen RISE – Is your car at risk?


car theft

Keyless entry car theft offences have increased in the UK (Image: GETTY)

New data reveals that the number of car thefts increasing in England and Wales in 2018 by nine per cent. The figures shared by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that a whopping 113,037 incidents of ‘theft or unauthorised taking of a motor vehicle.’ In addition to this, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) also reported an 11 per cent increase in the number of motor insurance-settled claims. The rise in thefts is thought to be linked mainly to the proliferation of ‘relay attacks.’ Keyless entry car theft through the use of ‘relay’ technique is a worrying vulnerability that a lot of cars on the roads in Britain are at risk of.

This safety weakness could cause drivers anxiety as their vehicle and be stolen in seconds from their driveway by criminals using radio transmitters.

A pair of devices – one at the car and one at the door – are used to fool the vehicle into thinking the key is nearby to allow access into the car and for the engine to be started.

Thousands of vehicles on sale in Britain are susceptible to this kind of hack as keyless entry is fairly standard across new vehicles.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said: “One area of concern is the increase of cars with keyless entry being stolen.

“When it comes to stealing cars, thieves have changed their tactics from ‘smash and grab’ to ‘bounce and roll’; as they bounce the radio signals off the key to unlock the car and roll away with it.

“Having access to your keys is the easiest way for a thief to steal your car, so drivers need to ensure they protect them properly.”

Last year, German Automobile Club (ADAC) tested 237 separate models fitted with keyless entry to discover which cars were at risk of being broken into using this technique.

It found resistance from only seven cars which either couldn’t be opened or started and only three – all Jaguar Land Rover vehicles – stayed completely secure.

Similarly, recent research from the UK found that Britain best-selling vehicles are at risk including the Ford Fiesta and VW Golf.

Only Vauxhall Corsa was impervious of this hack but that is due to the fact that keyless entry is not offered as an option.

Ford car key fob

Ford car key fobs are being shipped to help reduce the risk of theft (Image: GETTY)

Some carmakers are aiming to reduce the amount of cars being hacked including Ford who is shipping next generation Fiesta and Focus cars with a ‘sleeping’ mode which will turn off the vehicle signal if the key hasn’t been moved for 40 seconds.

Ford security specialist Simon Hurr said: “The online availability of devices which have no place in public hands has long been a problem for Ford, our industry and crime fighters.

“We are pleased to respond with a simple but effective solution – swiftly implemented to help protect owners of our top-selling cars.”

Thatcham Research also conducted test giving cars an Unacceptable, Poor or Superior rating for safety.

“We’ve seen too many examples of cars being stolen in seconds from driveways,” said Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research.

Vauxhall Corsa

Vauxhall Corsa couldn’t be broken into due to it not offering keyless entry (Image: VAUXHALL)

“Security has come a long way since vehicle crime peaked in 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.”

“The latest Audi e-tron, Jaguar XE, Land Rover Evoque and Mercedes B-Class were all awarded ‘Superior’ ratings for security.

“These carmakers have addressed the keyless entry/start vulnerability by either switching to a more secure wireless technology or introducing key fobs that go to sleep when idle.

“There are solutions and fixes. All carmakers should be acting ASAP.”

Here is a list of all the cars tested by ADAC which could be stated and opened using the hack.

Alfa Romeo Giulia 4/2016, Stelvio 9/2017

Audi A3 10/2015, A3 9/2017, A4 9/2015, A4 Avant 9/2015,A4 Avant g-tron 5/2017,A5 5/2016, A5 Cabrio 12/2016,A6 9/2014, A6 allroad 1/2012, A8 8/2017, Q2 5/2016, Q7 e-tron 9/2017, R8 12/2015, S5 Sportback 10/2016, SQ7 3/2016, TT RS 8/2016, and TTS 12/2014

BMW 218d 3/2018, 225xe 7/2016, 230i 7/2017, M240i Coupé 7/2017, 318i 10/2015, 318d 8/2016, 320i 7/2017, 440i Grand Coupé 3/2017, 520d 11/2016, 520i 7/2017, 520d 7/2018, 530d touring 3/2017, 630 GT 11/2017, 640d 1/2016, 730d 8/2015, 730d 3/2017, 740 5/2015, 740d 3/2016,i3 9/2014 – Keyless Start only, not -Open, i3 94 Ah 7/2016, i3 94 Ah 5/2016, i3 11/2017,i8 Roadster 3/2018, X1 11/2015, X1 SDrive 18d 6/2016, X1 18d 6/2018, X2 12/2017, X3 10/2017, X3 xDrive 20i 2/2018, X4 xDrive 30i 5/2018

Chevrolet Camaro 9/2017

Citroen DS4 CrossBack 11/2015, C3 Pure Tech 11/2016, C4 Picasso 7/2014, C4 Picasso HDI 5/2014, Spacetourer 8/2016,

DS Automobiles DS7 12/2017

Fiat 124 Spider 5/2016, 500x 5/2017

Ford Eco-Sport 10/2015,Eco-Sport 1.5 7/2018, Edge 5/2016, Fiesta 7/2017, Fiesta 6/2017, Focus RS 4/2016, Galaxy 5/2014, Kuga Vignale 1/2017, Mustang 9/2015, S-Max 11/2015

Honda Civic 12/2018, HR-V 6/2015

Hyundai i10 11/2016,i20 5/2018, i30 4/2015, i30 6/2017, i30 1.4 T-GDI 1/2017, i30 1/2018, i40 4/2016, Ioniq 1/2017, Ioniq 6/2017, iX35 Fuel Cell 6/2015,Nexo 5/2018, Kona 7/2018, Kona 1.0 T-GDI 11/2017, Santa Fé 8/2015, Tucson 1.6 7/2018

Infiniti Q30 4/2016 – keyless Open only, not -Start

Jaguar F-Pace 6/2016

Jeep Compass 5/2017

KIA Ceed 7/2018, Ceed 1.6 CRDi 7/2018, Niro Hybrid 7/2016, Optima 11/2015, Optima 8/2016, Optima Plugin-Hybrid 10/2016, Optima 5/2018, Optima 9/2018, Rio 1.0F GDI 1/2017, Sorento 10/2017,Sportage CRDI 4/2017 X X Sportage 2.0 CRDI 7/2018 X X Stinger 9/2017 X X Stonic 1.0 8/2017 X X

LandRover Discovery 6/2016, Range Rover Evoque 9/2015

Lexus CT 200 11/2017, RX 450h 12/2015

Mazda 2 Skyactive 90, Kizohu 5/2018 – keyless Start only, not -Open, 3 Skyactive 4/2016, 3 Skyactive 12/2016, 6 7/2018, CX-5 3/2015, CX-5 9/2017, MX-5 4/2017

Mercedes A 200 AMG 2/2018, C 220D 5/2018, C 200 5/2018, E 200 Cabrio 5/2017, E 220d 12/2015, E 220d T-Modell 8/2016, E 400 Coupé 1/2017, E 400d AMG 12/2017, S 400d 8/2017

VW Golf

VW Golf could be broken into found the test (Image: VW)

MINI Clubman 8/2015, Cooper S Cabrio 4/2016, Cooper Countryman 1/2017, One 7/2018

Mitsubishi Outlander 5/2016, Outlander 12/2013, Space Star 3/2016

Nissan Leaf 5/2012, Leaf 5/2016, Leaf 4/2018, Micra 5/2017, Navara 11/2016, Qashqai 2/2016, Qashqai+2 11/2013, Qashqai 1.6 dCi 8/2017

Opel Ampera 3/2012, Ampera E 1/2017, Astra 4/2016, Crossland X 1,2 DI 3/2017, Grandland 1.2 DI 8/2017, Grandland X 3/2018, Insignia Grand Sport 5/2017, Insignia 1.5 5/2017, Insignia Sports Tourer 5/2017, Insignia 7/2017

Peugeot 308 SW 2.0 12/2017, 508 SW 5/2012, 508 1.6 7/2018, 3008 10/2016, 5008 BlueHDi 150 5/2017

Renault Captur 3/2016, Captur TCe 120 6/2017, Clio 10/2016, Grand Scenic 2/2017, Kadjar 5/2015, Kadjar 3/2017, Koleos 6/2017,Megane 1/2016, Megane Grandtour 8/2016, Scenic 10/2016, Scenic 8/2017, Talisman 12/2015, Talisman Grandtour 5/2016,Traffic 11/2015, Zoe 12/2016

Seat Arona 8/2017,Ateca 5/2016, Ibiza 3/2017, Leon 1.4 TSI 11/2016, Leon 11/2017

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 9/2017, Kodiaq 11/2016,Octavia 12/2015,Octavia 2/2016,Octavia 1.4 TSI 4/2017,Octavia 1.5 TSI 1/2018, Octavia Combi RS 6/2017, Rapid Spaceback 7/2017, Superb 1,6TDi 12/2015

SsangYong Rexton 10/2017, Tivoli XDi 9/2015

Suzuki Baleno 4/2016, Ignis 1/2018, Swift 3/2017, Swift Sport 4/2018, SX4 S-Cross 7/2016, Vitara 9/2015,

Subaru Forester 2.0 D 8/2017, Impreza 11/2017, Levorg 8/2015, Outback 3/2018, XV 11/2017

Tesla Model S P85 11/2014, Model X 6/2017

Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid 11/2016, C-HR 12/2016, Mirai 2/2016, Prius 10/2007, Prius 1.8 Hybrid 1/2016, Prius Plug-in-Hybrid 3/2017, RAV4 12/2015, Verso 7/2015,

Volvo V40 5/2016, S90 6/2016, S90 D5 9/2016, V60 5/2018, V60 D3 7/2018, V90 D5 9/2016, V90 D3 7/2018, V90 D4 1/2018, XC 40 1/2018, XC 40 5/2018, XC 60 12/2017, XC 60 T5 11/2017 keyless Start only, not Open, XC 90 T8 12/2016

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TDI 4/2017, eGolf 3/2017, Golf 7 TSI 8/2015, Golf 7 Variant 1.4 TSI 8/2015, Golf 7 1.5 TSI 11/2016, Golf 7 GTD 10/2013, Golf 7 GTD 12/2016, Passat 2.0 TDI B8 12/2016, Passat GTE B8 11/2016, Passat 9/2018, Tiguan AD1 3/2016, Tiguan AD1 7/2016, Tiguan Allspace 9/2017, Touran 5T 12/2015, Touareg 3.0 V6 4/2018



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I'm a 50 year old PLC programmer from Burnley, UK. I severed my time as an electrician in the baking industry and soon got involved with the up and coming technology of PLC's. Initially this was all based in the Uk but as the years went by I have gradually worked my way around the globe. At first it was mainly Mitsubishi with a bit of Modicon thrown in but these days the industry leaders seem to be the Allen Bradley range of PLC and HMI’s.

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