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Car Trackers Needed Urgently as Keyless Cars Get Stolen

While advancements in vehicle-systems have certainly made our lives easier, huge gaps in security remain to be filled. Experts argue that over the last 2 decades, the technological advancement in auto-industry has been so rapid that not enough time was spent on addressing security fissures. As a result, the focus of the industry has been on introducing new features as opposed to improving the security aspects of features that already exist.


By exploiting these vulnerabilities in car-systems, thieves are able to make off with the vehicles without so much as making a noise. This is what happened to Uraib Asif of Greater Manchester. After a long day at work, Mr. Asif drove home in his keyless BMW, flung the keys on the nearest table and went straight to bed. An hour later, his father who had noticed that the car was no longer parked outside their home awakened Asif. He called the police and let them know that his car had been stolen. As if losing a £17,000 vehicle wasn’t stunning enough, the CCTV recording showed that the thieves were able to pinch the car in less than 90 seconds. To Asif, this seemed very remarkable and he expressed his surprise in the following words: “It took them minutes to open the car and drive off with it and we didn’t know about it.”


So how did the crooks pull it off? Asif’s car was a keyless BMW, which means that unlike the traditional cars that require you to insert and turn the keys to unlock them, these electronic keys unlock the doors automatically when the keys are in close proximity of your car. The keys continuously transmit signals that the car picks up and uses those signals as an automatic command to unlock the doors. By Asif’s account, he left his car keys on the table, which was very close to the front door. In the CCTV footage, one of the thieves is seen waving a backpack in front of the door, while the other one stood close to the vehicle. The backpack contained a transmitter that captured signals from the key on the table inside the house and transmitted it to a second transmitter close to the car. This relaying of signals makes the car system think that the key is in close proximity causing it to start. After that, the thieves simply made off with Asif’s BMW.


One remedy that is often suggested to avoid incidents like these is to place the keys in a metal tin that stops the flow of electromagnetic signals between the keys and the vehicle. Another precaution that is more effective and practical than putting keys inside a metal tin is to place your keys as far from the front door as possible so a transmitter at your front door doesn’t relay signals.


Despite all the precautions, a car tracker is instrumental in guaranteeing your car’s security so if in case, your car gets stolen, you would know where it is headed and could alert the authorities about it. Mr. Asif acknowledged that the ultimate responsibility lies with the car owners to protect their vehicles: “We have told the police but they can only do so much, we just need people to be on the lookout”.  Where it could take months to recover a stolen vehicle, car trackers let you monitor your vehicle in real-time, which makes police’s job heck of a lot easier.