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Can Car Trackers Help End the Epidemic of Keyless Car Thefts?

Thanks to the keyless technology, car thieves are no longer breaking into the vehicles. The figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that instances of vehicle theft went up by over 50% in the last year compared to the year before.

Where just a decade ago, criminals needed to break into the vehicle through a smashed window or a locked door, now they are simply unlocking the door through gadgets and devices purchased through eBay and Amazon. In a lot of cases, thieves use relay boxes that can be bought online to transmit signals from the fob to the vehicle to fool the system into thinking that the fob is in close proximity of the car. The system thus automatically unlocks the car and criminals either steal the valuables placed inside the car such as laptops, phones, jewellery etc. or they just drive off in the vehicle. In instances when the vehicle is not stolen, and only the valuables are missing, it could take car owners days and weeks to realize that items from their vehicle have been stolen, and the figures released by ONS don’t even account for that as a significant number of these car owners don’t even report the thefts to the police since they feel that it’s a little too late.

It is not just the high-end automobiles such as Mercedes, BMWs, Audis, and Range Rovers that criminals are targeting. Low-end vehicles such as Fiestas are also on the criminals’ radar, which further substantiates the claim that criminals are also interested in contents placed inside the cars as well as the cars themselves. Although the ‘smash and grab’ cases went down, the overall vehicle-related theft went up from 796,000 in 2016 to 929,000 in 2017 due to the vulnerabilities in the keyless technology.

According to the ONS figures, car thieves are abandoning the past tactics of smash and grab and using lockpicks to enter vehicles; they are keeping up with the modern technology. Although the overall car thefts have fallen since 1995, the transition of criminals from using past tactics to finding potential vulnerabilities in the modern systems is a concern since it provides a relatively safe mechanism to criminals. As modern vehicles today are more costly than the cars in the 1990s, the epidemic of car thefts today could force up market insurance rates. The challenge for vehicle manufacturers is to balance the service they want to provide to their consumers with the mechanism that guards against potential exploitation of their features by the criminals.

The ONS report shatters any claims from the manufacturers that their vehicles are more secure than ever. Where keyless technology has some advantages for the car owners, it has left them vulnerable to digital savvy criminals to whom stealing vehicles with keyless technology has become child’s play especially given that the ‘steal kits’ are being sold online.

On good remedy for car owners wanting to protect their vehicles against car thefts via cloned keys is to install Meta Track VTS. It offers top of the line protection for keyless cars. With a driver ID, it keeps close tabs on whether the vehicle is being driven with a cloned key. If the vehicle is started in the absence of the driver ID, it sends a signal to the SOC to send out an alert to you. If your concern is only to protect your car against cloned key thefts, you can attach the driver ID tag to your original keys. This eliminates the need to remember to carry both devices and prevents the system from sending out unwanted alerts to the driver.