Keyless entry car theft is on the rise with an increasing number of criminals using radio transmitters to hack into vehicles. Training employees on company car security and crime prevention is therefore more important than ever.
New connected car technology is enabling criminals to use transmitters to relay the signal from a keyless fob inside the house to trick the vehicle into thinking they have the key. This allows them to unlock the door and start the engine very quickly.
West Midlands Police recently released CCTV footage showing a ‘relay crime’ car theft and it was reported this week that a Mercedes was stolen from the owner’s driveway the same way, in under a minute.
A survey by TRACKER revealed that 25% of respondents said they leave their car keys in the hallway overnight. This is the most common room for thieves to target to intercept an electronic car keys and where its signal is strongest due to its proximity to the vehicle parked outside. 15% surveyed said they put keys in a drawer in a room downstairs, but although out of sight, it won’t protect them from the risk of relay theft.
The results show that many people are leaving themselves vulnerable but there are some simple precautions and fleet managers should educate their employees to minimise the chance of this kind of attack. Below are some top tips for prevention:
Key location – Keys should be kept out of sight. If left on the kitchen worktop or on a table in the hallway they can be seen and taken by a thief who breaks in.
Keyless fob storage – Relay devices cannot receive signals through metal therefore keys should be kept in a metal box, alternatively, it has been suggested that the microwave is a good low-cost alternative. You can also purchase a Faraday Sleeve which is designed to block radio transmissions.
Alarm – The vehicle should always be locked and alarmed when not in use. Thieves often lie in wait to block the locking signal as owners walk away from their vehicle.
Additional security measures – Drivers should not just rely on the keyless security system and physical barriers, such as steering wheel locks and wheel clamps, will also deter thieves.
Tracking devices – A tracker won’t stop a vehicle being taken but it will increase the chance of recovering it if it does happen.
Fleet managers should update their company car policies and educate all drivers on the risks of relay attacks. More education is needed to prevent these attacks and ensure business is not interrupted by vehicle theft.