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Keyless Car Thefts and Recalls

October 22, 2015

Land Rover is recalling more than 65,000 Range Rovers produced between 2013 and now in order to fix a software glitch that causes the keyless cars to unlock themselves. Land Rover said that owners will be notified and instructed to take their cars to dealers who will download the latest software for them at no extra cost. The latest software should help bolster the vehicles’ keyless ignition security.

However, Land Rover said that the recall was not related to keyless ignition vulnerabilities in Range Rovers which have allowed cyber criminals to bypass security features, unlock and even start car engines using their mobile devices, laptops or other small devices that criminals can easily buy online. Last autumn, there were numerous reports of London Range Rover drivers who had difficulty securing motor cover due to the rising threat of vehicle theft by cyber criminals. Indeed, the Metropolitan Police reported in February that the number of cars stolen in London had risen by 8 per cent, and that 6,000 cars and vans were stolen by exploiting keyless ignition security vulnerabilities in 2014—making that about 17 vehicles per day, or 42 per cent of all 2014 vehicle thefts in London.

Experts recommend that owners of any vehicle go ‘old school’ to prevent thefts, and use strong, non-electronic steering locks to physically prevent thieves from being able to steer the stolen vehicles. Owners are also encouraged to park their vehicles in secure car parks or garages off the street, invest in vehicle tracking systems and rely on visible theft deterrents such as pedal locks, disk locks and clutch claws.

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