An innovative device that prevents cars with keyless start and entry from being stolen could save the insurance industry around £380 million a year on car theft claims.

The device, developed by Hard-Off Security, stops vehicle theft by a method called ‘relay-hacking’.

It can be fitted to the car’s existing fob and the Norfolk-based company says it is 100 per cent effective at stopping a car’s security system being relay-hacked.

The solution is based on the principle that the vulnerability of these types of cars to relay attack or ‘cloning’ is due to the fob’s passive response to authentication challenges from the car’s internal security systems.

Being able to easily switch the fob ‘OFF’ when not in use, either manually or automatically will prevent the fob from responding and therefore render it ‘unclonable’.

This device can be retro‐fitted by owners or Hard-Off-approved technicians to most existing keyless‐entry/keyless start key fobs and no change to original on‐board car security systems or the key fob is required. It also retains full functionality of the manufacturer’s original specification.

Managing Director of Hard-Off Security, Mark Churchward, invented the device after his daughter’s car was stolen from her driveway in the middle of the night by relay hackers.

He believes the device can not only give car owners peace of mind but could also be a major boost for the insurance industry that shells out millions on car theft claims and, ultimately, help to reduce insurance premiums.

He said: “Now that we have a solution to stop car theft by relay attacks it will be interesting to see how the insurance industry reacts as it will save them upwards of £360 million a year on car theft claims.

“I hope drivers who protect their cars in this way will be able to share in the benefits by not only keeping their car safe but also receive some of that benefit in premium reductions.”

The first shipments of the device, which is British designed and British made, will start this month.

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