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Whether you’ve read it in the news, or seen videos on social media, car thieves are getting more and more tech savvy when it comes to stealing newer cars. In this blog we’re going to highlight the problem and then help with 7 solutions to protect you against this new crime phenomenon that's been sweeping across Europe and now happening in the UK..

The target vehicles can be accessed and started with a keyless fob. 

This new theft craze is known as the ‘relay’ method’ and can require two thieves to be able to access the vehicle. One thief is required to receive a radio transmission from the key fob inside the house by committing a relay station attack, and the other uses a copy key fob to press and access the car.

These criminal devices can also be operated using two transmission boxes. One next to the house to receive the transmission and the other box next to the car which tricks the cars computer system ready to be drive the vehicle away. Signals from the genuine key fob can be received up to 100 feet away, so even leaving your key fob near the front door doesn’t guarantee the signal won't be picked up..

A company called ADAC based in Germany reported that 110 models of cars from 27 manufacturers are at risk. (Source Andy Barrs, Head of Police Liason at TRACKER.

With research being carried out in Germany the two manufacturers most at risk are BMW and Peugeot.

These devices that carry out the attack can be purchased from as little as £80 online. (If you’re vehicle has a key less entry system and is at risk of being hacked, then it’s worth checking with your local car dealership what updates and protection are available). 

We will be discussing further solutions to help inform you later.

Andy Barrs from TRACKER also stated: “As relay attacks become even more prevalent, owners need to protect themselves, particularly since criminal gangs are routinely using relay devices to exploit weaknesses in keyless security systems across a broad range of manufacturers.

The new relay attack technique has gained significant ground in the US and Germany, but it’s also beginning to take hold in the UK, so vehicle owners need to protect themselves and their assets.”

Areas that are most at risk are mainly residential where the vehicle is parked in close proximity to the home.

Do you know of anyone who has been a victim of relay car theft? Or, have any advice you can give others regarding this crime? Then, please comment below as we would love to hear what you have to say.

Ok, so as promised it’s time to look at offering you some solutions, because as we know prevention is better than cure.

7 Solutions to help prevent theft

  • Use a Faraday cage at home to leave your key fob which in turn will help block the signal
  • Buy a TRACKR unit online for as little as £18 which can be connected via an app to your phone. The device can even be put on a keyring to locate lost keys and pet owners even use them for their dog collars in the case of a lost pet. Caravan owners can easily tuck them away in the caravan and ofcourse motorist’s are putting them in their car glove compartment in case of theft to locate their car. Although, if the vehicle gets stolen a TRACKR won’t prevent this, it still helps the police retrieve the vehicle to their rightful owner.
  • Park your vehicle in a garage if you have one, or a lit up area preferably with CCTV in operation.
  • Make sure your vehicle alarm, or immobilizer is installed and working.
  • When you leave the vehicle place a steering lock on, or even a gearstick lock
  • See whether your vehicle can be fitted with an OBD (on board diagnostics) lock
  • Don’t leave any windows, sunroof which could lead to roof lining damage, or bootlid open.

As mentioned before it’s also worth a quick call to your local dealership to see if there are any latest updates available for added security.

Please share your thoughts and comments below as we love to hear them as they can really help others too.