Crime – Contactless car keys a boon for thieves

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A commercial off-the-shelf device allows you to open and drive off with a vehicle in seconds.

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No more searching for your keys in the bottom of your pockets or your bag, just have them on you and your car unlocks and starts. This contactless electronic key technology, or “Keyless-Go-System” in English, is now part of the daily life of motorists. But she would not be very sure, according to an article in the “View” released this Saturday. In addition, notes the German-speaking newspaper, few manufacturers try to counter this flaw.

These conclusions come from a test by the German automobile club ADAC, which tested around 500 car models over several years. Result: no need for special knowledge in computer hacking to steal a car. A device – called in the jargon wi-fi range extender or range expander – available for a hundred francs on the market will be enough to commit theft in a few seconds.

Few equipped cars

Thanks to these devices which act as relay antennas, thieves can transmit the waves emitted by the vehicle key over several hundred meters, explains the “Blick”, and thus have access to the vehicle in all discretion. One of the thieves stands near the owner of the car. He transmits the signal to an accomplice who is next to the vehicle and voila. Once started, the car can drive until it runs out of fuel or the batteries discharge.

There are solutions to prevent this kind of theft, such as cases that reduce the signal from the key. The most effective being the “ultra-wideband” (UWB) system. This technique makes it possible to measure the distance to which the real key is located and to keep the vehicle locked even if the criminals relay the signal to the car. According to ADAC, of ​​the 500 car models examined, only 24 were equipped with this lock.

(jba)

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