Until a few years ago, car theft was a deadly crime. The effectiveness of modern car security systems seemed to put an end to the long era of car theft. But something happened that would change the whole picture.
In recent years, car thefts have increased significantly. From 2015 to 2019, there was an increase of almost 50% in the number of stolen cars.
Experts have linked this trend to the declining number of police officers and the growing popularity of keyless entry and ignition systems, also known as keyless systems.
For example, an independent study from Germany tested the keyless ignition systems of 230 different cars. It found that only three were able to defend themselves against an electronic attack fully.
But what is keyless car theft, and what can you do to protect yourself from it? This is exactly what we are trying to discuss today.
What is keyless ignition car theft?
Keyless car theft occurs when someone captures the signal from a keyless key. This person may be a few meters from the car, for example, in another car parked next to it. But it can also happen in other places, like the home and office.
After the signal is captured and analyzed, the thief can trick the onboard computer into thinking the key is nearby, allowing the doors to open and the ignition to start. It’s a clean robbery and can be done in seconds.
Unfortunately, locksmiths frequently hear cases of breaches of locks and other electronic devices. These car thefts are usually carried out by specialized thieves and equipped with contactless key cloning devices.
How do I know if my car is susceptible to theft?
If you need to press a button on a car key to break in, there is no risk of being “hacked.” Only cars with a keyless entry system can be stolen using these technologies.
A keyless car allows the driver to put the key in his pocket to open or start the car. Once inside the car, the driver can start the engine by pressing a button on the dashboard.
With this type of theft, every car is at risk for a keyless system. Most auto insurance will cover theft if this is done, but you may need to prove that all key sets are still available.
Popular models of the vulnerable or risky version are the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, and Ford Focus.
Tips to prevent car theft with a keyless system
Here are a few quick tips to protect your car and avoid being a victim of vulnerabilities in keyless entry and ignition systems.
1. Keep your car keys safe
If you’ve a car with a keyless entry, make sure the keys are well away from the doors and windows.
As long as you don’t need them, keep the keys in a box or tin that will attenuate or block the signals. In this way, nobody will be able to capture the signal from the outside and use it to open the car.
But it is vital that you don’t forget to do the same with any duplicate or an extra set of keys.
2. Use a signal-blocking bag (Faraday bag)
Signal blocking bags are lined with a metallic material. This means that the keys inside cannot transmit any code to the vehicle or the attacker. This effect is known as a Faraday cage.
These bags are cheap, especially the small ones. Starting at less than 5 euros, they are also helpful for blocking Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals on mobile phones.
3. Turn off the wireless signal of the key fob.
The wireless signals of some wireless keys can be turned off. You should look in the car manual to see if you can do it to turn them off. If you can’t find anything in the manual on how to turn them off, contact the vehicle manufacturer.
4. Use a steering wheel lock or car alarm.
Yes, we know, you threw away the steering wheel blocker in the ’90s. Most car thieves today are equipped with laptops instead of hand tools. Now is the time to take benefit of this. Mechanical car security devices, such as steering wheel or pedal lockers, can be a real deterrent to a modern thief.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a factory alarm, we recommend installing it as soon as possible. You must also take suggestions from Locksmith Tampa on the specific alarm model since its quality varies greatly.
5. Reprogram your keys
If you buy a used car, there is a risk that you will not get all the sets of car keys. Reprogramming your car keys may prevent thieves from being stolen in the future. If you are not sure you have all the duplicates, we recommend reprogramming the car keys.
Programming keys for some vehicles can be costly, especially if you have direct access to the manufacturer. Check with a trusted automotive locksmith first to see if it is possible to save a few euros by doubling them.
6. Parking on the defensive
It’s great for parking your car in the garage overnight, but be sure to seek out a security check from a trusted Tampa locksmith. If you park in the driveway, park carefully, as close to your property as possible, so access becomes difficult for burglars.
Consider installing outdoor motion detector lighting and video surveillance. If you park on the street, make sure you leave your car in a well-lit area.
What are car manufacturers doing?
Some car manufacturers are introducing security measures to help prevent the theft of cars with keyless ignition sources. Kia’s own faraday bag is available that helps to block the car’s signal.
Ford, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes have introduced motion sensor keys. This will go into sleep mode after being inactive for 40 seconds. This reduces the time window in which it is possible to obtain the signal from the electronic key.
If you’re contemplating enhancing the security of your car, consult with our Car Locksmith in Tampa. We assure you that our blown away Auto Locksmith Services will give you peace of mind.