FIA Region I has discovered that it is much easier for thieves to steal a keyless vehicle than a vehicle with a conventional locking system, based on the results of a survey carried out by German Automobile Association ADAC, which assessed over 20 different models.
In the survey, engineers managed to hack the keyless vehicles in a matter of seconds and to drive off, leaving no visible trace of a break-in or theft. Because of their obvious security flaws, comfort keys are worryingly easy prey for thieves. It is easy to extend the range of the wireless communication between the key fob and the car by several hundred metres, experts say. In addition, similar technology can be used by thieves in order to disable immobilisers and alarm systems. Experts believe that off-the-shelf electronic components are all it takes to easily build a car theft device.
In the light of these findings, FIA Region I advises consumers to take extra care when it comes to storing their key fob and warns consumers of the insecure systems behind keyless vehicle locks. Carmakers should systematically protect all vehicle electronic systems against theft, as has been standard practice in the IT industry for a long time.
Table of vehicles tested: