Car industry accused of negligence over keyless theft

Experts warned of the risks over a decade ago

Car industry accused of negligence over keyless theft
Photo: Bigstock

A leading motoring lawyer has accused the motor industry of negligence by ignoring warnings that keyless technology would make cars more vulnerable to theft.

This comes after an investigation by the Observer found that legal and computer researchers warned that keyless entry would be “subverted” by criminals.

The Observer found that thieves are able to use a device known as an ‘emulator’ to steal a car within 20 seconds by mimicking the car’s electronic key. It also unearthed equipment for sale online for £5,000 which allows thieves to hack into the car’s computer and programme a new key.

The motoring lawyer Nick Freeman said: “The motoring industry has been negligent because they were warned when this new technology was beginning to emerge. It’s a catastrophic situation where people cannot insure their cars or face ridiculously high premiums.”

The investigation points to reports from 2011 and 2012 which warned of the risks associated with keyless technology.

In 2011, a report by researchers at the University of California and the University of Washington said hackers would be able to target a car’s “telematics unit to unlock the doors [and] start the engine.”

A year later, an article in Computer Law and Security Review said systems could be “successfully undermined”, with author Stephen Mason warning: “There has been insouciance and ignorance by the motoring industry, not wanting to pay the price for proper security.

“We now have modern cars with the latest technology and the owners have to put on old-fashioned steering locks to protect them from being stolen.”

Commenting on the latest findings, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “Car makers continuously introduce new technology to stay one step ahead of criminals. This investment has helped drive down vehicle theft dramatically over the past 30 years.”

Source: The Guardian

1 Comment

  1. Range rovers are practically uninsurable because of this. I wouldn’t be happy being gifted one because it’s be a pain to sell!


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