FOUR of the five best-selling car models in the UK are 'susceptible to keyless theft', according to consumer group Which?

The Vauxhall Corsa was the only car in the top five considered to be safe from attacks as it does not feature keyless entry and start.

Which? based its report on data from the General German Automobile Club (ADAC), a roadside recovery organisation, which saw 237 keyless cars tested and found that all but three of them are susceptible to so-called relay attacks.

The best-selling cars which are susceptible to keyless theft include:

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Volkswagen Golf
  3. Nissan Qashqai
  4. Ford Focus

Messenger Newspapers:

Relay attacks are when criminals use a device to trick a car into thinking a key is within close enough range to be opened and the ignition started.

Which? said: "Thieves have been using keyless theft - also known as the relay attack - for several years, but manufacturers continue to make new models that can be stolen in this way, meaning there is an ever-larger pool of vehicles for thieves to target."

Messenger Newspapers:

What is the car industry doing to fix this problem?

Which? says as of January 2019, new cars should start to be better protected thanks to new criteria in the New Vehicle Security Assessment (NVSA).

Every car manufacturer mentioned in the report from Which? was also asked what they’re doing to protect new and existing keyless cars from theft.

Honda declined to comment but every other manufacturer, including Ford, Group PSA (which includes Citroën, Peugeot and Vauxhall), Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, Volvo and Volkswagen Group (which owns the Audi, Skoda and VW brands), said that it takes car theft seriously and that it is constantly looking for ways to make its cars more secure.

How can I protect my car from being stolen?

Which? has provided some key advice:

  • Never leave valuables in plain sight
  • Invest in a steering wheel lock.
  • Consider where you park at night. 
  • Double check your doors are actually locked
  • Always keep your key out of sight at home and as far away from your front door as possible.
  • Contact your car’s manufacturer to find out if there are any extra steps you can take to protect your specific model. 
  • If you have a keyless car, consider buying a metal case for your key fob as this can block the signal produced by your key. But be aware that the key needs to be completely surrounded by a metal layer, without even the slightest gap, to be protected from the relay attack.

Could your car be affected by the relay attack?