Keyless entry systems allow car owners to open and start their cars without handling their key. To put it simply, as you approach your car (and/or pull the car handle), the car sends a “who is it?” message out – the key responds with an “it’s me!” message. As long as the car and the key are paired, the car unlocks and the same wireless conversation happens as the driver tries to start the car (with an extra proximity check).
Thieves can trick a car into thinking the key is present by performing a ‘relay attack’. Relay attacks are performed by two thieves.
- With a car-side box close to the car, the first thief approaches the car (and/or pulls the door handle). The car sends the “who is this?” message out.
- The car-side box relays this message to the second thief, holding the key-side box.
- The key-side box relays this message to the actual car key inside the house/premises.
- The car key emits the “it’s me!” message that gets relayed back to the car, allowing the vehicle to be unlocked and subsequently driven away.
A common question we get asked is “How quickly can you do a relay theft?”. The simple (and scary) answer is a simple one –
A relay theft (performed by organised thieves) is as quick as if they had the actual car key in their pocket.
CanTrack Global are experts in modern theft techniques and have products and services that ensure your vehicle is found and secured after a keyless theft. To show how quick keyless theft can be, view the videos below.
In March 2019, the BBC in England reported that “A new insurance claim is made every six minutes following car theft in the UK, prompting insurers to echo concerns over some keyless vehicles.”
In November 2019, the BBC in Northern Ireland reported that “Motorists with keyless entry cars been warned to be vigilant after 16 luxury vehicles were stolen in a spate of thefts across counties Down and Armagh.“