The fault which could see your car stolen in just 10 seconds
Theft rates have reached an eight-year high and over 106,000 cars were stolen in the UK in 2018 alone. Insurance payouts were also at their highest level in seven years, with experts warning payouts for the first quarter of 2019 were higher than any quarterly period since 2012. The issues stem from modern car's new keyless device system, where motorists no longer need to put a key into their ignition to start a car. These keyless devices contain a short-range transmitter which allows drivers to get into a car and start them as long as the device is close enough. Criminals have sabotaged the system and can fool the technology to open a door using special devices.
This can be done as thieves steal and copy the unique code sent from the keyless system to a vehicle, a booster unit can then relay the code to unlock the door.
An experiment conducted by motoring magazine WhatCar? showed some of the UK's most popular models can be opened within seconds.
In a shocking revelation, the DS 4 Crossback Puretech 155 Ultra Prestige was broken into and stolen after just ten seconds as experts used the same technology as common thieves.
The Land Rover Discovery Sport TD4 180 HSE was stolen in just 30 seconds, with Land Rover’s Discovery SD6 306 HSE broken into after 20 seconds.
Audi’s TT RS Roadster was stolen in ten seconds with the active smart key, while the BMW X3 xDriv20i M Sport, Ford Fiesta 1.0 ecoboost and Mercedes A-Class A220 could be broken into within a minute.
Reacting to the claims, DS chiefs reassured drivers that only the top-of-the-range model was equipped as standard with keyless access and made clear that ownrs could ask DS retailers to disable this feature free of charge,
A spokesperson added: "it is important to note that this kind of 'relay attack' needs exceptional circumstances with very specific conditions, in particular, the necessity for the criminal to be in close proximity of both key and the car at exactly the same time."
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Jaguar Land Rover's Kim Palmer said the vehicle WhatCar? used in their assessment was no longer in production but he claimed the manufacturers new Discovery Sport car is protected against relay attack.
In a following statement, a spokesperson for the brand said: "As an industry-wide issue, Land Rover takes vehicles security very seriously and has a dedicated team working on staying one setp ahead of criminals. Land Rover is in the process of rolling out updates to our vehicles protecting them against emerging threats and has been cited by the ADAC and Which? as one of the first manufacturers to protect against relay attack.
The spokesperson added: "In addition, all our vehicles are available with InControl tracking devices which have delivered a more than 80 percent success of recovery. Land Rover remains fully committed to investing in vehicle security while giving customers the option of keyless entry systems."
Volkswagen said the group was working with police and insurance chiefs as part of the groups work to improve the security measures of their cars.
In January, Which? analysed data from the General German Automobile Club who shockingly revealed that all but three of 237 keyless cars were threats for thieves.
Car security company Tracker also claims 88 per cent of stolen vehicles fitted with one of the company’s devices were nicked without the owner's keys in 2018.
The data suggests keyless car thefts are on the rise after Tracker statistics showed 80 percent of cars were taken with this method in 2017, falling to 66 percent in 2016.
Mike Hawes, head of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) claimed new cars were more secure than ever, with new technology helping to decrease levels of car theft.
He added: “Criminals will always look for new ways to steal cars; it's an ongoing battle and why manufacturers continue to invest billions in ever more sophisticated security features - ahead of any regulation.
“However, technology can only do so much and we continue to call for action to stop the open sale of equipment with no legal purpose that helps criminals steal cars.”
Express.co.uk also approached DS and Volkswagen for a comment but have yet to receive a reply.