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An investigation by The Sun newspaper has revealed that any driver van insurance policyholders need to become more vigilant as a response to the increasing levels of sophistication demonstrated by thieves.

This follows revelations last year from security company Tracker, which released data showing that 82 per cent of van thefts occurred without keys in 2017, a vast increase in the number of similar thefts in the previous year.

From exploiting security flaws in the keyless systems of commercial vehicles to duping drivers into leaving doors unlocked, thieves are nowadays able to break into vans in as little as six seconds.

After receiving permission from the the owners of the vehicles concerned, the team from the newspaper used the key fob hacking technology to break into vehicles made by the following manufacturers (also listed are how long it took to break into each van):

  • Skoda: 10 seconds
  • Nissan: 10 seconds
  • Mazda: 12 seconds
  • Renault: 13 seconds
  • Hyundai: 19 seconds
  • Volvo: 23 seconds
  • Volkswagen: 42 seconds

Terrible Technology Democratised

The Sun found that anybody in the UK can buy the hacking technology. Online sellers based in Russia have no checks to prevent the devices from falling into the hands of criminals. However, The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) has said that it is “working closely with government, insurers and police forces to stop the open sale of equipment which has no legal purpose.”

Ford, which manufactures the Transit van, the most-stolen van in 2017, says it is developing a sleep mode for its key fobs in order to prevent thieves from hacking into signals. Other manufacturers, including Skoda Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, Volvo and Mazda say that they will be doing the same.

In the meantime, any driver van insurance fleet managers should consider security measures such as steering locks, wheel clamps and locking tools away.