UK drivers should prioritise the security of their vehicle when considering what to go for when choosing a new car.

This is the sentiment of automotive safety specialist Thatcham Research, which has highlighted potential security vulnerabilities in six out of 11 new car releases so far in 2019.

Vulnerabilities can be hard to avoid

According to the company’s findings, the number of vehicle thefts and break-ins that have been reported as a result of vulnerabilities in systems of keyless entry are on the rise.

Furthermore, the body revealed how many of the newest model releases have achieved a safety rating of ‘poor’ when it comes to security in its own testing. It checked how vulnerable these new cars were to a ‘relay attack’, where the signal from the keys was boosted to the car to unlock it from distance.

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham, explained: “Security has come a long way since vehicle crime peaked in the early 1990s. But the layers of security added over the years count for nothing when they can be circumvented instantly by criminals using digital devices.”

As a result, he suggests individuals who do have a vehicle with keyless entry should check whether or not the system can be turned off when the car is parked for prolonged periods, such as overnight.

Meanwhile, storing all sets of keys (including spares) away from points of entry to a property, where a criminal could easily relay the signal from the keys to the car, is also important.

Mr Billyeald concluded: “We’ve seen too many examples of cars being stolen in seconds from driveways.”

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “Keyless entry and other cutting-edge vehicle technology is great news in terms of driver comfort and ease of use. However, one thing that all motorists must remember is that, as with any innovation, there will always be criminals seeking to exploit it.”

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