car relay crime prevention

Relay Crime: Keyless Car Entry Theft

Keyless car entry is a luxury that is found on many modern vehicles but it is a feature that is putting you at risk from relay crime. Car criminals are now using state of the art computers to hack into the cars computer/ecu, which allows them to start the vehicle and drive away in minutes.

It is not just vehicles that have keyless entry features that are at risk. If your car has the ability to access the internet such as maps, it is at risk of relay crime.

There are various methods of preventing relay crime with products such as a car key signal blocking pouch that prevents any signals being transmitted. This is just one of many techniques that you can use to prevent keyless car theft.

How Does a Relay Attack Work?

Rewind to 30 years ago and the main method of stealing cars was by hot wiring but you would still need to get inside the car somehow. A relay attack is the latest method that is much more simpler, which is quite worrying.

Keyless car entry theft is on the rise and takes a few minutes to do. In order for it to work, there needs to be two criminals and they must have a powerful transmitter. Below is a simplified version of events to how a relay attack happens.

  1. Criminal #1 uses the transmitter to ping the cars locking system to impersonate the key
  2. The locking system responds and sends a signal that the key is meant to pick up and respond to.
  3. Criminal #1 then forwards the transmitting signal to criminal #2 who is near the house.
  4. Criminal #2 uses his transmitter to send it on to the key fob where the relay sends back the correct response. This is then forwarded back to criminal #1’s transmitter and they will have full access of the locking system and ignition.

A picture speaks a thousands words and it truly is this simple.

relay crime infographic

How to Prevent Keyless Car Theft

Using car key fob case that prevents the keys signal from being transmitted further than the case. The Faraday Cage Key Signal Blocker is the best way to prevent keyless entry theft of your vehicle and is much cheaper than you expect.

Of course, there are many other techniques that you can do to prevent keyless car theft such as:

An efficient deterrent is usually the best approach to warn off potential keyless entry car thieves. For example, if a criminal see the car is secured with a wheel lock clamp boot, they will almost certainly find another easy target.

Of course, adding such anti theft devices such as a steering wheel lock or clamp involves a lot of effort every time you drive your car. However, it is the best way to prevent keyless entry theft and if there is a spike of such crime in your area, it is highly advised.

Relay Crime Conclusion

Unfortunately, car theft will always be a thing but manufacturers are trying their best to prevent it in ways of software updates and vehicle recalls.

Police are also “upping” their game and fighting against the sale of relay crime devices and seizing any they find.

If there is a sudden increase of relay crime in your area, invest into a signal blocking pouch or an old school locking device for peace of mind.

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