Expert highlights three car makers with latest security to outwit criminals

A Range Rover on a production line
-Credit: (Image: © 2023 Bloomberg Finance LP)

The UK has seen a significant increase in car thefts in recent years, with criminals continually finding new ways to bypass modern vehicle security systems.

This has sparked an automotive arms race between manufacturers and the thieves who target their vehicles. Furthermore, manufacturers are also competing amongst themselves, constantly adding more security features to provide their customers with increased protection and peace of mind for their prized vehicles.

This competition among car makers has led to a race to incorporate the latest and most advanced security technology into their vehicles to make them as secure as possible.

Three manufacturers have managed to pull ahead in this race, creating a temporary gap between themselves and their competitors.

According to What Car? Land Rover, Audi, and BMW are the only three manufacturers that currently offer Key Emulation Protection (KEP) and CAN Bus protection.

KEP is designed to protect cars from key emulation by criminals. This tactic involves criminals forcing entry into the car and plugging a costly key programmer into the car's onboard diagnostics (OBD) port.

Once connected, this device replicates the code used by the car to start the engine and unlock the doors, allowing them to simply drive away. The publication notes that some manufacturers have software to protect keys or have made the car's OBD port more difficult to break into.

Big names in motoring like BMW, Land Rover, and Audi are stepping up their game by fitting cars with advanced CAN Bus protection systems. This savvy tech aims to outwit thieves by scrambling the vehicle's communication networks.

These updates come as manufacturers seek to outsmart criminals who exploit the CAN (Control Area Network) bus wiring system, which communicates with electronic control units (ECUs) throughout the vehicle. The clever software can sniff out if a command doesn't originate from the correct location, effectively shutting down any dubious signals.

A BMW badget being pressed into a car
BMWs are also fitted with advanced car protection technology -Credit:Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Land Rover, the producer of the iconic Range Rover, is among those bolstering their defences. Previously highlighted security weaknesses have spurred the company into action, equipping their vehicles with state-of-the-art safeguarding devices.

Patrick McGillycuddy, JLR UK's managing director, addressed the concerns over car security, stating: "We understand that being a victim of car crime is deeply distressing so we are working hard to mitigate this risk for our clients wherever we can."

Further expressing his commitment, McGillycuddy assured: "Our security update initiative directly and positively combats known methods of thefts used in the UK today."

Pledging his personal involvement, he added: "I am personally committed to providing the highest levels of protection as possible, to as many clients as we can; our team has grown to match the scale of this task and we are actively seeking clients who may have missed our correspondence or purchased from outside our network."