Ford Hits Back After Keyless Theft Risk Exposed

Hard-on-the-heels of a security alert about its keyless car entry technology, Ford has announced new anti-theft key fobs for its two most popular models.

The carmaker had been cited in a security investigation by Thatcham Research as one of the manufacturer’s with the poorest defence systems against keyless entry/start attacks by criminals. Now owners of both the Ford Fiesta and Focus are being offered keyless entry fobs with a sleep mode to protect against the vehicles being hacked by thieves using scanners to copy car start and entry codes from nearby unprotected key fobs.

A new motion sensor inside the new fobs detects when it has been stationary for longer than 40 seconds and triggers a sleep mode which, Ford claims, will not respond to attempts to hack its signal via a “relay box”. When the owner picks up the fob, its functions will be fully restored and designed only to operate within a two-meter radius of the vehicle.

The UK’s best-selling car, the Ford Fiesta plus the Fiesta Van version, are already being delivered with the new fobs as standard at no extra cost, followed by Ford Focus production from next month.

Simon Hurr, Ford security specialist, said: “The online availability of devices which have no place in public hands has long been a problem for Ford, our industry and crime fighters. We are pleased to respond with a simple but effective solution – swiftly implemented to help protect owners of our top-selling cars.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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