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Check Your Keys!

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As cars get more advanced, the technology sometimes replaces manual tasks normally performed by the driver, which sometimes takes away the element of apparent responsibility and the need for vigilance.

Although the keys to the vehicle may not fall into that risk category, there are other problems associated with them that we have to be aware of.

In recent weeks, we have seen a number of occasions where children have been locked inside vehicles. On each occasion, the child had to be rescued by fire-fighters and was uninjured by the ordeal. However, particularly in the summer months, each of these incidents could have had a much more serious outcome.

The woman said that it was the little girl, just one year old, who took the keys from inside her mother’s purse. As the mother was about to take her out of the car, the girl pressed the button on the remote control key, closing the doors, becoming trapped inside.

In a second incident, the vehicle automatically locked the doors with a child inside, leaving the adult on the outside.

Some modern vehicles warn the driver to remove the key from the ignition before leaving. This includes carrying seemingly simple operations such as fuelling the vehicle.

There is also another risk associated with newer cars which has been identified by security experts.

Some cars no longer have a traditional key to allow access and to start the vehicle, but rather a remote control ‘fob’. This simplifies the operation for owners, but has been identified as a potential risk as some technologically savvy thieves have been able to clone them and then take the car unhindered.

This cloning has sometimes been carried out at the owner’s home, when the fob has been left near to a door for example, and the thieves have been able to use equipment to scan whilst outside the property, copy the information from the fob and take a vehicle without alerting the property occupants.

The thief’s transmitter pings the car’s locking system, impersonating the vehicle’s key. The locking system responds, sending a signal which the key fob is supposed to pick up. The thief who sent the original ping forwards the response to a second thief who is near the house. The second thief then forwards the response to the key fob which then relays back the correct response, which then works its way through the mini network back to the first thief’s equipment and onto the car, which then unlocks the doors and allows the engine to start.

In order to avoid this, much like traditional key warnings, the advice is to always keep the fob far away from doors, windows or other easily accessible locations, storing it well out of reach of prying equipment. Traditional keys were often kept in bowls or on hooks near a front door, with the thieves able to fish them out by hooks through the letterbox. The same warnings still apply, but the fishing technique has evolved.

Keep your keys safe at all times, away from thieves and children, they are your responsibility and they are literally the ‘key’ to your possession that nobody should be allowed to access.

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