With the advancement in technology, many vehicles are now equipped with keyless entry and ignition systems that allow drivers to unlock and start their cars without physically using the key.

This technology is called the Internet of Vehicles (IoV), which helps vehicles connect to the Internet and other vehicles, enabling them to communicate and share data in real-time.

However, this new technology has also made it easier for criminals to steal cars.

What is keyless car theft?

Keyless car theft, also known as relay theft, is a method used by thieves to steal vehicles equipped with keyless entry and ignition systems. These systems allow drivers to unlock and start their cars without physically using the key.

To steal a car, thieves use relay devices to capture the signals emitted by a vehicle's key fob, even when it's inside the owner's home.

One thief stands near the car with a device to capture the signal from the key fob, while another stands near the house with another device to relay that signal to the car.

Once the signal is relayed to the car, it tricks the vehicle into thinking the key fob is nearby, enabling the thieves to unlock the doors, start the engine and steal your car.

Although vehicle manufacturers are constantly taking steps to make keyless-entry vehicles more secure, keyless car theft has become more of a concern in the UK, with criminals becoming more adept.

Simple measures to protect against keyless car theft

Faraday pouches or boxes
Faraday pouches or boxes are lined with a conductive material that forms a barrier against electromagnetic fields, preventing thieves from capturing the signal from the key fob and stealing your car.

Faraday pouches are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online easily, starting from around £5.

A Faraday pouch can be useful at home as well as when you are out and about and you leave your car in a car park as you can pop your key away once you’ve locked the car. Faraday boxes are a little more expensive but can be useful to hold the family's keys but make sure you keep the box away from the front door and in a safe location.

You can test your Faraday pouch or box by placing your keys inside and trying to start your car. If it is working then the car will not detect the keys and fail to start.

You can also try pressing the lock or unlock buttons through the bag to check if the signal is picked up by your vehicle.

Park in a secure location
Whenever possible, park your car in well-lit areas with high visibility and preferably under surveillance. Avoid parking in isolated or poorly monitored areas where thieves can work undetected.

Physical Security Devices
Steering wheel locks, wheel clamps, and gearshift locks can deter thieves, even if they manage to unlock the car.

Car manufacturers are also continually working on improving security measures to combat relay theft, such as implementing more sophisticated encryption methods and adding additional layers of authentication.