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Ford tackles keyless entry car theft with new protected fobs

Motors | Published:

Adding ‘sleep mode’ to keyless entry fobs will prevent hackers from stealing cars, says manufacturer

An extra layer of protection has been added to Ford’s keyless entry fobs to combat the rise in relay theft.

The new “sleep mode” kicks in when the key has been stationary for 40 seconds. This stops it transmitting its signal – meaning hackers with relay boxes can’t boost the signal and unlock the car from further away.

(Ford/PA)

Moving the fob again will reactivate it, and Ford says the fob only activates within two metres of the car that it’s linked to anyway.

The upgraded fobs are already being shipped out with the Fiesta – the UK’s best-selling new car. Fiesta vans also get the same treatment.

Focuses with the new fobs will ship from next month. Existing owners of the latest models can retrofit their cars with the new fobs – it’ll cost £65 for a Fiesta and £72 for a Focus, plus 0.9 hours of labour for reprogramming.

Ford aims to roll out the tech to all of its models over the next two years, helping to prevent keyless theft across some of the UK’s best-selling models.

Richard Billyeald, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research, said: “This is great news for car owners and the wider automotive industry. There is a known weakness in keyless entry systems, and we are pleased that Ford has come up with a simple and effective response on these big-selling models. We hope that other car makers will respond in a similar fashion.”

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