Ford has upgraded its security technology on the Fiesta and Focus models, disabling the keyless entry keyfobs when not in use to block illegal hacking.
Keyless entry technology from all manufacturers has been targeted as a weakness by car thieves, with relay box technology used to extend the keyfob signal and unlock vehicles parked outside a house. Ford’s keyless tech is designed to work within a two-metre radius of the car.
Ford has added a motion sensor to the key fob that detects when it has been stationary for longer than 40 seconds, triggering a sleep mode that means it won’t respond to hacking attempts.
The development is fitted to all new keyless Fiesta and Fiesta Van models now, with the Focus following from next month, and it can be retro-fitted to current-generation models for £65 on Fiesta or £72 on Focus, as well as just under an hour of labour. Other Ford models will follow over the next two years.
The manufacturer criticized the easy availability of technology that can allow criminals access to vehicles. “The online availability of devices which have no place in public hands has long been a problem for Ford, our industry and crime fighters,” said Simon Hurr, Ford security specialist. “We are pleased to respond with a simple but effective solution – swiftly implemented to help protect owners of our top-selling cars.”
“This is great news for car owners and the wider automotive industry,” said Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research. “There is a known weakness in keyless entry systems, and we are pleased that Ford has come up with a simple and effective response on these big-selling models. We hope that other car makers will respond in a similar fashion.”
The company advises keeping keyless fobs away from the front door, and ideally in a metal box or shielded pouch.