Keyless entry systems have become increasingly common and they’re an apparent boon for owners and car thieves.
According to What Car?, the proliferation of keyless entry systems and push button ignitions mean that many new vehicles can be stolen in a matter of seconds.
To demonstrate how fast this can happen, the group gathered seven different models which were all equipped with keyless entry and start systems. Security experts then attempted to ‘steal’ them using specialized equipment.
According to the results of the test, the DS3 Crossback Ultra Prestige was easiest to steal as the team managed to get into the car in five seconds and drive away it in five seconds later. The 2018 Land Rover Discovery Sport was also found to be easy to steal as it took experts 10 seconds to get into the crossover and 20 seconds to drive it away.
That’s pretty quick, but What Car? noted some models come with key fobs that feature motion detection technology. This means the key fobs will stop emitting a signal when they’re stationary.
The technology is featured on key fobs from Audi, BMW, Ford and Mercedes. This meant the team wasn’t able to get inside or steal the Audi TT RS Roadster, BMW X3, Ford Fiesta or Mercedes A-Class when the key fob was deactivated.
That’s good news, but they keys aren’t perfect as they’ll emit a signal when you move and have them in your pocket or purse. If thieves get that signal, the vehicles are relatively easy to steal.
The TT RS Roadster was broken into in five seconds and driven another five seconds later. Both the BMW X3 and Ford Fiesta took 40 seconds to get into and another 20 seconds to drive away. Lastly, the A-Class required 30 seconds to get into and 20 seconds to drive away.
Interestingly, the only car that couldn’t be stolen was the Land Rover Discovery. What Car? says Jaguar Land Rover uses “ultra-wide-band radio technology on some of its latest models, which transmits a wide range of signals from the key, meaning thieves can’t lock onto the signal and fool the vehicle.” Experts were able to get into the vehicle after 20 seconds, but they couldn’t drive away in it.
Despite that bit of good news, What Car?’s Steve Huntingford said “It is outrageous that some car makers have introduced keyless entry and start systems without making them anywhere near as secure as the traditional alternatives they’ve replaced.” He went on to praise a “small number of brands” for taking security seriously, but noted more needs to be done.