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New ratings point to keyless cars that can stand up to relay attacks

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Do you dislike the idea of standing in an empty driveway that should be occupied by your car, obediently waiting to unlock after you chirp-chirp your keyfob at it?

If so, you might want to take a gander at the security ratings for new cars put out by Thatcham Research, a nonprofit insurer research center in the UK.

Thatcham rated 11 cars that were launched so far in 2019 and plans to continue to assess new cars for security. It rated six of those 11 cars as being poor for security.

Specifically, it’s looking at those wireless keys: matchbox-sized fobs that have proven woefully susceptible to what’s known as relay attacks.

That’s when thieves use two relay devices that are capable of receiving, and extending, wireless signals from the car through walls, doors and windows, to reach the fob inside a car owner’s house. The relay devices are cheap to pick up online.

Standing next to the car, they just have to scan for signals transmitted by the wireless keys and then amplify them...(continued)

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