Media Land Rover

Keyless Car Security Vulnerabilities Tested

Keyless cars provide huge convenience for owners and drivers alike, however, they also make stealing cars considerably easier as well.

In a matter of seconds, criminals can take keyless cars by using a device to relay to signal from key fob in the house to the car, allowing them to open the car, start it, and drive off.

Car thefts in England and Wales are currently at an eight-year high – last year alone, 106,000 cars were taken.

Now What Car? magazine has tested seven new cars all equipped with keyless tech to see which are the most vulnerable to theft.

The publication discovered that the new DS3 Crossback Ultra Prestige could be unlocked and started in 10 seconds, while the Audi TT RS could also be pinched in the same time, but only when the optional keyless entry system was active – the keyfob can be disabled if it hasn't moved for a predetermined period of time.

The Land Rover Discovery Sport was another bad performer in the test, and could be stolen in 30 seconds.

As well as Audi, BMW, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz have all introduced motion detection technology for their keys, which disables them if they remain untouched and not moving around. When the keys were deactivated, the cars couldn't be taken in the What Car? test.

Jaguar Land Rover meanwhile has attempted to throw off thieves by having its keys emit a range of radio signals, preventing thieves from locking onto one signal.

"It is outrageous that some car makers have introduced keyless entry and start systems without making them anywhere near as secure as the traditional alternatives they’ve replaced," said What Car? editor Steve Huntingford. "It is great news that a small number of brands are taking the problem of car theft seriously, but more needs to be done to improve security, particularly of desirable used models."

What Car? exclusive security test results