Car security: how to keep your car safe

Thieves are using high-tech equipment to steal cars and valuables left in them, but there’s plenty you can do to deter them

Words ByClaire Evans

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Cars are getting smarter at an alarming pace. The β€˜connected car’ of the future will become a reality far sooner than you think. A lot of this technology is already available in some form or another. For example, even many entry-level cars now come with Bluetooth wireless technology and keyless entry. Is all this clever technology secure, though?

A recent study has reported that more than 100 million cars sold by the Volkswagen Group since 1995 have a flaw in their security system that allows the signal from the car’s remote keyfob to be intercepted, giving thieves access to the car.

With a piece of kit costing just Β£30, a thief can stand near your car while you lock it and intercept the code sent out by the key. The equipment then cleverly calculates the unlocking code for your car and allows them to gain access to it and drive off.

This is only one of a number of ways a thief can get into your car electronically, and it’s not just Volkswagen Group cars that are affected. There are numerous reports of Range Rovers and BMWs that have been stolen in similar ways.

Car theft is not the only concern, however. Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was forced to recall 1.2 million vehicles in the USA when it was discovered that hackers were able to take control of the cars remotely, including gaining the ability to take over their steering and brakes.

The good news is there are some measures you can take to minimise the risk of your car getting hacked.

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