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Research conducted by consumer magazine What Car? has claimed that security weaknesses leaves vehicles being vulnerable to being stolen in as little as 10 seconds.

A test by the magazine found the DS3 Crossback  could be unlocked and started in 10 seconds by thieves using specialist technology, with the publication adding the Audi TT RS could also be stolen in 10 seconds, albeit only when its optional keyless entry system was active and its motion sensor technology had not disabled the keyfob, while it said the Land Rover Discovery Sport could also be stolen in 30 seconds.

The magazine said that vehicles fitted with keyless entry and start systems are being targeted by thieves with criminals using specialist tools to capture a key’s signal and relay it to another device next to the car, allowing them to enter and start the vehicle.

Vehicle theft

Figures released by the Government earlier this year showed a 50% increase in the number of vehicle thefts, with the number of cars stolen rising by 50% in five years. In the financial year 2013-14, the figures revealed that some 75,308 vehicles were stolen, but by 2017-18 that had risen to 111,999 – the equivalent of one vehicle being stolen every five minutes or 300 a day.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “It is outrageous that some car makers have introduced keyless entry and start systems without making them anywhere near as secure as the traditional alternatives they’ve replaced. It is great news that a small number of brands are taking the problem of car theft seriously, but more needs to be done to improve security, particularly of desirable used models.”