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Thieves targeting cars fitted with keyless entry systems

Date: 29 October 2014   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Organised criminals are targeting high-end cars fitted with keyless entry systems, resulting in reports of some London-based owners of Range Rovers being refused insurance, according to The Times.

With keyless entry systems becoming more popular among car makers, criminals are buying equipment online that's able to reprograme keys.

According to the office for national statistics car theft has fallen from 318,000 in 2002 to 77,500 last year.

The Society of Motor Manufactures Traders says the problem isn't just linked to Range Rovers, and the body is working closely with car makers to solve the problem.

"Vehicle manufacturers and SMMT have been working closely with a number of relevant authorities to develop preventative measures against keyless vehicle theft. Over the last two years, many vehicle manufacturers have released a series of software updates to help combat keyless vehicle theft and stay one step ahead of thieves," said the SMMT in a statement.

"The criminal act of stealing vehicles through the re-programming of remote-entry keys is an on-going industry-wide problem," said a Land Rover spokesman.

Safety research organisation Thatcham said there are many potential solutions to the issue and it is the manufacturers' responsibility to deliver a viable solution in-line with Thatcham's insurance criteria.
A Thatcham spokesman said: "Potential solutions could include the fitment of an alarm that protects the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, the re-positioning of the OBD port to be less accessible, as well as potential software fixes to prevent unauthorised communication from the OBD port to the engine management unit.
"There are also potential solutions through the fitting of vehicle telemetry systems, which monitors when a vehicle is moved or started and automatically alerts an independent monitoring centre."