Car manufacturers have finally started fighting back against the keyless car crime epidemic, new tests have been revealed.
Six of the newest models from major manufacturers, including Audi, BMW, Ford and VW, received the highest safety rating available in a new assessment round that examines how well vehicles are resistant to & # 39; relays & # 39; thefts.
It turned out that many of the newest cars with keyless entry and keyless starting systems now have motion sensors built into the fobs to block organized gangs that use cheap hackers bought from the internet to steal engines.
Fightback: New tests on the latest vehicles have shown that more manufacturers use motion sensor technology to block relay attacks
The new Audi A6 Allroad, BMW 1 series, BMW 8 series and BMW X6, together with the Ford Puma and Volkswagen Passat all achieved & # 39; superior & # 39; all-round security assessments from Thatcham Research.
The assessment group has tested the security levels of the newest cars as part of new tests introduced this year in the industry.
Many of these vehicle assessments focus on their ability to & # 39; relay attacks & # 39; prevent – when criminals steal vehicles from owner's driveways by hacking the keyfob in the guard's house and replicating the signal to unlock and start the car.
Car thefts have increased by 50 percent over the past five years as a result of this keyless crime scene, with an engine stolen every five minutes, according to the latest figures.
Data from police services in the United Kingdom have shown that the number of reported thefts has increased by 45 percent since 2014, before motorcycle crime dropped by six years.
In 2017/18 alone, 112,174 owner-owned vehicles were pinched – the equivalent of 307 every day.
The peak in theft has put pressure on car manufacturers to improve their built-in systems to ward off these relay attacks.
Keyless car thefts have led to a huge increase in vehicle crime in recent years, with figures showing that more than 300 motorcycles are stolen every day
Many now use motion sensors in the keyfobs to detect when they have stood still for a while – and then activate a sleep mode.
This means that the fob will no longer respond to attempts to pass on its signal.
Full functionality is only restored if the key is moved again by the owner.
Latest models by Thatcham & # 39; superior & # 39; assessed
– Audi A6 Allroad
– BMW 1 series
– BMW 8 series
– BMW X6
– Ford Puma
– Volkswagen Passat
Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, said that this progress was a step in the right direction, but that makers still had to do more to put an end to this enchantment of keyless car crime
& # 39; It is positive news for consumers that car manufacturers are increasingly making this solution available & # 39 ;, he said.
& # 39; The motion sensor fob is a good option for the short term, but the goal for automakers must be to fully design the vulnerability.
& # 39; Until then, a fundamental vulnerability remains.
& # 39; We urge manufacturers to market keyless technology in safe form and remove driver & # 39; s from the driver to provide additional security.
& # 39; Closer collaboration in the design and implementation of new technologies is the key to identifying vulnerabilities before they anchor themselves in the vehicle fleet. & # 39;
He said the systems are not guaranteed failsafe against keyless crime, and that owners must check their fobs before they assume they are completely safe.
The Audi A6 Allroad is a crossover of a station and a 4X4, thanks to an increased driving height. It was one of the newest cars tested by Thatcham and carrying out assessments with flying colors
The BMW 1 series is a popular family hatchback in the UK. Thatcham Research said it & # 39; superior & # 39; has security levels
BMW & # 39; s more styling and powerful 8-series Coupé – priced from £ 70,500 in the UK – can also ward off relay attacks, the tests found
& # 39; We advise consumers to check how long it takes before sleep mode is activated on their keyless remote control & # 39 ;, said the security expert.
& # 39; Some fobs go to sleep in one or two minutes, others in 15 or even 30 minutes. & # 39;
While this is great news for those looking for a new car, it does not help much to help drivers who have recently purchased vehicles with keyless technology that do not have such functions to block relay attacks.
"Many owners who have opted for keyless entry and start will have done this before a motion sensor fob was issued or will own a car where such a fob is not available at all," said Billyeald.
If a motion sensor is not available, drivers must:
– Consider buying a Faraday bag and storing it & # 39; overnight. Owners are advised to test whether it works for themselves
– Consult the manual to see if the fob can be turned off completely
– Store fobs, including spare parts, away from household access points
Three BMW & # 39; s were recently tested by Thatcham, with the X6 the last of the trio of the German brand that received the highest rating
The Ford Puma is a small compact SUV to compete with the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur. It is just as suitable to block keyless car thieves as a much more expensive luxury German car
The last model to be assessed in the latest measurements is the Volkswagen Passat
This is the third series of consumer security assessments introduced in 2019.
Part of these measurements include Thatcham security engineers performing a relay attack test on the vehicle's keyless access and starting system.
They also check to ensure that other security features meet the minimum requirements of insurers, including certified immobilizer, alarm, and dual locking systems.
To date, 24 vehicles have been assessed, nine of which have fallen to & # 39; poor & # 39; who have not passed the Relay Attack tests.
& # 39; Superior & # 39; assessments for all-round security and for a solution for the keyless vulnerability were awarded to 14 cars.
Only one car, the Suzuki Jimny, has been lowered due to all-round security errors, despite the fact that it has no keyless start and start system.
Thatcham Research & # 39; s new car safety ratings for 2019
Audi A6 Allroad: SUPERIOR
Audi e-tron: BETTER
BMW 1 series: SUPERIOR
BMW 7 series: SUPERIOR
BMW 8 series: SUPERIOR
BMW X6: SUPERIOR
BMW X7: SUPERIOR
DSS3 Crossback: BAD
Ford Mondeo: ARM
Ford Puma: SUPERIOR
Hyundai Nexo: ARM
Jaguar XE: BETTER
Kia ProCeed: ARM
Land Rover Evoque: BETTER
Lexus UX: ARM
Mazda 3: BAD
Mercedes B-Class: BETTER
Porsche 911: SUPERIOR
Porsche Macan: BETTER
Suzuki Jimny: UNACCEPTABLE
Toyota Corolla Hybrid: ARM
Toyota RAV-4: BAD
Volkswagen Passat: SUPERIOR
Volvo S60: BAD
* Bold models are the models that were last tested
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