A THATCHAM company has issued advice to drivers after a new car was stolen in less than two minutes by exploiting a technological loophole.
Vehicle safety technology expert Thatcham Research issued guidance to drivers after CCTV footage showed hi-tech thieves stealing a Mercedes C class off a driveway in less than 90 seconds.
The ‘transmitter relay’ attack seen in the footage exploits a vulnerability in a vehicle’s keyless entry system, with criminals amplifying or capturing the signal from a keyless or ‘smart’ fob.
Keyless fobs, which should not be confused with standard remote fobs, allow drivers to easily open and start their vehicle without pressing the fob or even having to remove it from their pocket.
Chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, Richard Billyeald, said: “Keyless entry systems on cars offer convenience to drivers, but can in some situations be exploited by criminals.
“Concerned drivers should contact their dealer for information and guidance, and follow our simple security steps.
“We are working closely with the police and vehicle manufacturers to address this vulnerability, continuing our approach that has driven vehicle crime down 80 per cent from its peak in 1992.”
The company, based in Colthrop Way, provided the following tips:
Last year, 91,000 vehicles were recorded as stolen, an increase on the 70,000 reported in 2013.
Figures revealing the exact number of cars that have been compromised using the transmitter relay attack are not available, owing to the way vehicle thefts are recorded.