Irish car owners are being urged to watch out for a new scam that allows thieves to unlock their motors without the keys.
Europe’s largest car-owners’ club has warned that hundreds of thousands of vehicles are at risk. It is said that the scam has already been used to steal vehicles across Europe.
Thieves are using a simple radio hack to unlock and immediately drive away cars that use keyless technology.
Known as an “amplifier attack”, the scam uses one radio placed near the car and another near the key.
The hacker can then ‘trick’ the car’s radio equipment into thinking the owner is nearby.
Research by the Germany based group ADAC suggests 24 different cars from 19 different manufacturers are vulnerable to attack from the scam, which can be copied easily.
The club said: “This clear vulnerability in keys facilitates the work of thieves immensely.”
“The radio connection between keys and car can easily be extended over several hundred meters, regardless of whether the original key is, for example, at home or in the pocket of the owner.”
The group has called on car makers to improve the security of wireless key fobs.
A spokesman said: “It is the duty of the manufacturer to fix the problem.”
“Keyless locking systems have to provide equal security [to] normal keys.”
In the meantime, it is suggested that placing key fobs in the freezer for a while when not in use could be your best bet against attack as low temperatures can block the transmission of radio signals.
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