Most new car models are still not protected against theft. They can be easily opened and started by extending a radio signal. Of the 500 cars tested by the German ADAC, only 24 passed.
Since 2016, the ADACthe German equivalent of the ANWB, more than 500 new cars with keyless entry checked for theft protection. These are cars that can be opened and started without a physical key. The 24 models that passed the test were equipped with Ultra Wide Band technology (UWB). UWB allows the vehicle to recognize the actual distance from the car key to the car, causing it to only start when the key is nearby.
Some manufacturers rely on a motion sensor in the key. If it is not moved for a certain period of time, the radio signal will be turned off and the vehicle will no longer be illegally opened and driven. However, from the point of view of the ADAC, this method is less safe, as keyless theft despite this ‘sleeping key’ is still possible as long as the radio signal is not switched off. The ADAC found this method in 37 tested models.
First security only in 2018
Although this security hole has been around for ten years, the first models with adequate security did not hit the market until 2018. This mainly concerned Jaguar/Land Rover products. Since 2019, more and more group models from Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen have been protected with UWB. This shows that a safer system is also possible in less expensive vehicles.
Although the number of car thefts fell by more than six percent last year, partly as a result of the corona crisis, in recent years the share of cars stolen via keyless theft. We therefore recommend an additional CCV Approved Alarm System to be mounted on vehicles with a keyless entrysystem,” says Rudi Welling, manager of the National Vehicle Crime Information Center. “Unfortunately, many modern cars are still susceptible to this form of theft.”
Lots of VW and Land Rover
The cars that are equipped with Ultra Wide Band technology, and are therefore almost impossible to steal via keyless theft, are the latest versions of the Audi A3, Audi A5 40 G-Tron, BMW iX X-Drive, Cupra Formentor, Jaguar E-Pace, Jaguar i-Pace, Land Rover Defender, Land Rover Discovery, Range Rover, Mercedes S500 , Seat Leon, Skoda Eniaq, Skoda Octavia, VW Caddy, Golf 8, VW ID.3, VW ID.4 and Volkswagen Polo. For a list of all tested cars click here†
This is how you prevent keyless car theft
1. Use a steering lock. This old-fashioned method can deter thieves from stealing your car.
2. Listen to the sound of the doors locking. If you don’t hear anything, double-check that the doors are locked.
3. Place a track and trace-system. These devices can warn when your car is started and track where it is going.
4. Turn off your key manually. Some manufacturers have included a button in the key that allows it to be turned off at night.
5. Place cameras. Often times, thieves are stopped from stealing your car and otherwise they can be used to locate the person who committed the theft.
6. Always report any suspicious behavior in your area in the neighborhood app and to the police.
7. Put your car in a garage. Thieves are less likely to target your car if it’s in a locked garage.
8. Keep up to date with the latest software. Many manufacturers update their in-car security systems to keyless prevent theft.
9. Put your key in a steel candy or cookie jar. This blocks the radiation of the key.
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