04 Feb

New cars ‘can be broken into in 10 seconds’

Some of the UK’s newest and most popular cars are at risk of being stolen in seconds by exploiting weaknesses in keyless entry systems.

The systems let drivers open and start their cars without taking their key out of their pocket.

What Car? magazine tested seven different car models fitted with keyless entry and start systems.

A DS 3 Crossback and Audi TT RS were taken in 10 seconds, and a Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 180 HSE in 30.

What Car? security experts performed the tests using the same specialist technology operated by thieves.

They measured the time it took to get into the cars and drive them away.

Car theft rates in England and Wales have reached an eight-year high. In 2018, more than 106,000 vehicles were stolen.

And motor theft insurance claim payouts hit their highest level in seven years at the start of 2019.

The Association of British Insurers said claims for January to March were higher than for any quarter since 2012.

It said a rise in keyless car crime was partly to blame, but did not have figures on what proportion of claims were for keyless vehicles.

Audi’s parent company, the VW Group, said it collaborated with police and insurers as part of its “continual” work to improve security measures.

The PSA Group – the parent company of DS – told What Car? it had a team dedicated to treating potential security weaknesses and worked closely with police to “analyse theft methods”.

It also said dealers could deactivate the keyless entry systems on the latest cars at the owner’s request.

Jaguar Land Rover said: “The Discovery Sport model tested is no longer in production. The current Discovery Sport produced today features technology which prevents relay attack.

“In addition, all our vehicles are available with InControl tracking devices which have delivered a more than 80% success of recovery.”

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