Easier car theft thanks to keyless system

Munich, 17 March 2016

You are a pleasant thing: so-called keyless systems, the owner of the car without pressing the key in the vehicle can enter and start the engine. But the comfort has a hook as the Automobile Club ADAC has now identified: cars with keyless systems are significantly more prone to theft than conventional locking systems.

Auto theft with little effort

So far, the ADAC has investigated more than 20 vehicles of from different manufacturers. The alarming result: You could be all opened within a few seconds with a homemade radio-extension and drove away. During testing, the operation left no visible marks. Reason is a vulnerability: radio connection between the key and the car can be extended over several hundred metres regardless of if the original key is in the House or in the jacket of the owner. The equipment required for the theft of the car can produce at low cost from commercially available electronic components. They are similar to previous CB radio amplifiers. Thieves need to move only with a small receiver in the vicinity of the car key and with a small transmitter in the vicinity of the car door. A stolen car runs also without key as long as gas in the tank is (or been will be refilled), or until the motor is stalled or turned off.

Drop keys in the refrigerator

How can you protect yourself? Increased vigilance at the key storage is recommended. The Dutch police even recommends that you keep the keys in the fridge, because its isolation allows no radio waves. Other car owners use aluminum foil for similar reasons. This can prevent thefts of keyless cars, is not recommended; because a car is still stolen, the vehicle owner is probably "blame", because that perhaps not closely enough; wrapped the foil Plate doses not always shield the radio waves. Duty, the ADAC sees the automaker systematically to cover all vehicle electronics. For owners of affected vehicles, there should also be remedy through retrofits. (rh)