Combatting Relay Car Theft in the Modern Age
Technology often improves our lives, but it can also create new vulnerabilities. Professional thieves exploit advanced technology to steal cars in a method known as relay car theft. According to Tracker, 76% of motorists with keyless fobs or connected features are at risk.
Understanding Relay Attacks
Executing a relay attack usually involves two thieves. One positions themselves near your car, while the other tries to capture the key fob signal near your home. Alarmingly, they can connect to your fob from up to 100 meters away. The first thief then relays this signal to the second thief near the car, tricking the key into granting access.
See It in Action
Watch this 90-second video of a recent theft in the West Midlands to understand how quickly a relay attack can happen.
Andy Barrs from Tracker warns that relay attacks are on the rise: “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. These tools are readily available on the internet for as little as £80 and thefts typically occur in residential areas, where cars are parked relatively close to the house, especially at night. It’s worth remembering that technology is just one part of vehicle security and more vigilance needs to be taken across the board; this includes car owners, manufacturers, dealers, insurers and the police.”
How Prevalent is Relay Car Theft?
According to a report by This is Money, cars with keyless technology are twice as likely to be stolen. The rise in this type of crime has led to a 22% increase in vehicle thefts in England and Wales between April 2021 and March 2022.
Preventing Relay Theft
The government is pushing car manufacturers to enhance security features. Meanwhile, you can take steps to protect yourself. Storing your car in a locked garage overnight is a good start. Manual keys can also deter cybercriminals, as breaking in manually requires heavy-duty tools.
YouTube offers various tutorials on shielding your key fob from scans. One simple method involves wrapping your fob in tin foil to block signals. Just make sure your fob doesn’t end up in your lunch!
As always, contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding car relay theft.