CAR companies are attempting to plug a serious security flaw in modern cars that allows thieves to steal them in a matter of seconds. The fault has been blamed for a surge in thefts of BMWs, Land Rovers and Audis. Ford models are increasingly being affected too, as revealed in Driving.
Now Ford has announced that it is developing two solutions to the problem of “keyless entry theft” — and both are expected to be launched this year. New cars will include software that prevents thieves from programming a key fob if the alarm is on. Owners of older models will be offered a physical device, thought to be similar to the lockable hatches that cover the diagnostics port and are currently sold by third parties.
Crooks have been buying cheap devices that use the port — which provides access to the car’s electronics — to program key fobs for the vehicle. The ports are a mandatory feature under European rules.
BMW has already released a software patch to make its cars more secure. Land Rover is understood to be testing a device called an OBD Blocker that will disable the port unless a tag — designed to be attached to a keyring — is present.