Vehicle Security – Latest Trends And What We Can Do To Protect Our Assets

19 Apr 2023
By Caron Whitfield Head of Private Clients, Affinity Groups
2023 2022 2021

Insurers can make use of telematics and vehicle tracking devices to analyse data and pinpoint high-risk vehicles which can even narrow it down to high-risk areas and specific hot spot areas. A telematics device is a highly intelligent computer consisting of a GPS tracking unit and various other on-board sensors, that work together to monitor and report on the overall status and activities of the vehicle, including speed, idling time, fuel usage and more.

Historically, vehicles over a certain value or those that are known to be high risk, required a tracking device to be installed as a condition for theft cover. Although it seems like traditional tracking devices are becoming less effective, they still do assist in reducing the risk as they provide an advantage in the early stages of theft or hijacking.

Relay attacks are the most frequently used method in vehicle thefts.

Relay attacks

A relay attack is a type of hacking technique whereby an attacker intercepts and manipulates communications between the vehicle and the vehicle’s smart key.

The relay attack method involves an attacker getting into close proximity (5-20 metres) of the vehicles’ remote transmitter. The electronic security key is then transmitted via a portable reader/transmitter device, to the vehicle at its parked location, which could be up to 200 to 500 metres away. This means a second attacker can unlock it, via the door handle sensor, which allows the engine to be started and the vehicle driven away.

The only way to protect the theft of these vehicles by Relay attacks is by means of a Faraday Pouch. These bags are lined with layers of metallic material and by simply placing the vehicle remote transmitter in a Faraday pouch, it blocks the key’s signal from reaching the outside world.

Despite the availability of preventative measures, it is imperative that you remain vigilant and cautious when parking your vehicle. Avoid parking in poorly lit or isolated areas and make sure to lock your car and activate any security features before leaving it unattended. Additionally, you can consider installing a visible deterrent such as a steering wheel lock or alarm system.

Such is the problem of Relay attacks that certain vehicle manufacturers are implementing system upgrades on keyless entry vehicles to prevent what is known as a relay attack.

Toyota South Africa has issued a communication to insurance companies in response to the rising number of vehicle theft cases seen locally as well as abroad. They have developed upgrades to their vehicle security systems on certain key models, specifically Toyota Hilux and Fortuners. The upgrades can be carried out by any authorised Toyota dealer and at no cost to the consumer.

All new vehicles sold will also be delivered with the upgrade included and all vehicles that are due for routine service and maintenance will have the upgrade installed at no cost.

Overall, it is important to stay informed about the latest trends and take proactive measures to protect your vehicle and assets. Speak to us about what preventative measures you need so you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of vehicle theft.

Please contact us on 011 799 6400 or for any assistance or advice you might need.