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WATCH: Thieves use 'relay attack' to steal cars

2018-06-01 08:17

Robin Classen

Image: Youtube

Imagine parking your car outside in a seemingly safe road or area at a friends place and coming out the next morning finding everything besides the car.

That is a dreadful situation to find yourself in but one that cannot always be prevented no matter what you do.

In this day and age, cars don't need an actual key to start and drive.

A keyless error

A 'relay attack' is a new method used by car thieves, which involves two criminals working together using electronic signal-relay devices. It makes use of a key-reading device that needs to be in or within close proximity of the car to enable it to start. 

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The car’s system is tricked into thinking the key is there, allowing thieves to unlock the vehicle and drive away within minutes.

Take a look at this clip of a thief driving away with a stolen BMW:


Take a look at the clip below as thieves steal a Mercedes Benz with the key relay technique:

Here are a few tips to prevent a 'relay attack' happening to you:

1. Double check that your car is locked: Thieves lie and wait to jam the signal once your back is turned. Go back and physically check that your doors are locked after hitting your key. 

2. Keep your car keys out of sight: Doesn't matter if its a relay or actual car key, keep them in your pocket or close at hand until you reach your vehicle

3. Install a tracking device: This gives you added peace of mind keeping an eye on your car.

4. Store it in a metal container: This blocks the signal when thieves attempt to scan the relay from the outside. A microwave is a very good place.

5. Add layers of security: Parking behind a tightly secured gate or garage is a deterrent for thieves not willing to go through the effort to make much noise.

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