Keyless Operation System Security Questions
I’ve heard reference to “Relay Theft”, “Keyless Theft”, “Hacking Theft” and other similar terms in the media. What does this mean?
Keyless Operation System (KOS) is a common convenience feature fitted to many new cars including the Mitsubishi passenger car range. The car communicates with your key when the two are in very close proximity, allowing you to unlock the doors and start the engine without having to remove the keys from your pocket or bag.
Car thieves have recently started using specially-made electronic equipment to relay a signal between KOS cars and their keys, even if the two are not in very close proximity to one another. A common scenario involves thieves relaying a signal between a key, often kept on a key hook by the front door, and a car on the driveway. This potentially allows them to open the doors and start the engine without having to break into the house for key.
Are Mitsubishi cars vulnerable to this kind of attack?
Mitsubishi Motors is constantly endeavouring to maintain the highest standards of vehicle security and we are currently investigating how best to tackle this latest criminal strategy. This is such a new development that recent test have shown that 99% of all cars currently on sale can be targeted in this way, including our vehicles.
Is there anything that can be done to stop this?
Yes, there are a few options. If you bring your car to your local Mitsubishi dealership they can do one of the following:
- Switch off the keyless entry function, which means you would instead use the key fob buttons to open the doors. The keyless start function, where you push the starter button with the key in your pocket, would still operate. Your car cannot be opened by using a relay device.
- Switch off the keyless start function, which means you can unlock the car by pushing the button on the door but you would need to put the key in a designation location (varies by model) to start the engine. Your car could potentially be accessed by a relay device but it cannot be started or driven
- Switch off both so that the car can only be accessed via the remote control buttons and driven when its specific key is physically present. This is the most secure setting.
Why do I have to go to the dealer for this?
Anything related to car security requires the highest level of caution and verification which is best achieved by using our trusted dealer network.
Is there a charge for this?
This is at the dealer’s discretion so you would need to check with them first. The maximum they would charge would be 30 minutes labour, meaning no more than £60. It is also worth remembering that any setting the dealer programmes in would require another dealer visit to alter later so make sure you’re comfortable with your choice.
If I didn’t want to do that, what other measures can I take?
Storing your key far away from outside walls and doors makes it harder to relay a signal to the car but we can’t guarantee the effectiveness of doing this because every house, every driveway and every “relay” theft device is different. More traditional deterrents like parking the car in the garage, closing gates, using steering locks etc. all help discourage car thieves.
I hear people are using faraday devices and pouches. What are these and do you offer them?
Faraday devices create an electronic shield around the keys so their signals cannot be detected. There are various types available but we don’t offer any and we can’t verify their effectiveness.
What happens if my car is stolen using a relay device?
You would need to discuss this with your insurance company. Mitsubishi Motors works tirelessly to ensure its vehicles are as secure as they can be but, unfortunately, car thieves are always striving to find ways to circumvent even the best security systems.