Drivers urged to follow certain steps to prevent car thefts11/30/2022
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With Christmas around the corner, motoring experts at Car Lease Special Offers have spoken to a car security expert Ken Munroe to reveal how to prevent car theft during the festive season. Hackers and thieves have developed different ways of using modern technology to break into and steal cars. New research carried out by Car Lease Special Offers also uncovered that 80 percent of vehicles are stolen without the thief needing access to the owner’s keys.
Hackers and thieves have developed different ways of using modern technology to break into and steal cars.
Mr Munroe explained: “We are starting to see attacks against cars through headlights, wing mirrors, and other unusual vectors.
“This takes advantage of the vehicle networks (usually the Controller Area Network or ‘CAN’) that extend into these devices.
“If not correctly protected, some vehicles may allow a thief to connect to wiring in the headlight and run code that allows the car to be unlocked and then start the engine.”
Thieves can use a device to fool the car into thinking the key is nearby, with the relay device then unlocking the car and starting the engine. This is done by capturing the signal that the car key emits.
Mr Munroe said: “The many cases of theft through keyless entry ‘relay’ attacks is a problem. The auto industry was alerted to this many years ago but failed to address the problem at first, thinking that car thieves were not sufficiently skilled to effect such an attack.
“They didn’t appreciate that relay kits would be created and sold on the black market, bringing a relay attack into the capability of any non-techie thief.”
Thankfully, there are steps drivers can take to reduce the chances of sophisticated criminals stealing their car:
- Keep the car key well away from the car while you’re at home.
- Reprogramme the keys if you have just bought a second-hand keyless entry car.
- Buy a signal-blocking pouch to keep the key in, such as a Faraday Bag.
- Switch off wireless signals on the key fob when it’s not being used.
- Don’t put your keys in the microwave – Physical security protections cannot be overlooked
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Don’t leave keys within easy reach of the letterbox
Keeping the keys to the car near the front door and within reach of thieves is a big mistake, no matter whether it’s a classic key or a keyless fob.
Leaving car keys within easy reach of the letterbox has made thefts rather easy in the past. If a car offers keyless entry or requires the key to be in the car to start it, then it’s important to keep the keys as far away from the car as possible.
Always check the car is locked
Locking a vehicle should be the first step drivers take, but many people don’t believe it’s necessary when the car is parked up on the drive or just outside the home.
Car Lease Special Offers previous research into car crimes revealed that 41 percent of car thefts were due to the owner failing to lock the door.
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Though it’s the driver’s responsibility to lock the car, Mr Munroe explained that manufacturers have to take responsibility for car safety too.
He said: “Failing to lock a car is another obvious problem. That said, I believe that responsibility for the majority of vehicle security issues lies with the manufacturers – it is their responsibility to ensure that a vehicle is not easy to steal, though owners should play their part.”
What to do if your car is stolen?
There are three main steps to take in the unfortunate event that your lease car is stolen.
- Call the police: Report the theft to the police, providing details on your car so that they can begin the investigation.
- Report this to your insurance company: If the car cannot be recovered, your insurance company will be paying for the car. They may also provide you with a courtesy car in the meantime.
- Make sure to let your leasing company: The leasing company will also need to be aware of the situation, and they will work with your insurance provider to work out a settlement. If they are unable to do so, you may be financially responsible for paying the difference between the agreed amount from your insurance company and the amount needed to end the contract. You can protect yourself from this by taking out a GAP insurance policy.
Will Bullen of Car Lease Special Offers commented: “In our previous research around car crime, we found that car theft prosecutions were down 58 percent, car thieves have definitely advanced with how they’re stealing vehicles.
“With theft again in the news, around EV chargers and Keyless entry, it’s important drivers are aware of what they should be doing to keep their cars as safe as possible, keeping your keys away from the door and parking in a well-lit area are just some of these, but drivers need to be aware of other trends on the rise that are around keyless entry and EV chargers. If you’re leasing a car you should also follow the same measures.”
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