An automotive cybercrime expert has used a West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner’s summit on motor vehicle theft to warn that security isn’t keeping pace with technology developments in cars.
Professor Siraj Shaikh spoke at the forum, organised by the region’s crime commissioner David Jamieson and held at Coventry University, which saw vehicle manufacturers, crime and cybersecurity specialists from across the UK debate issues facing the car industry.
In the West Midlands Police force area the number of cars recorded as stolen in the last two years has nearly doubled.
According to police records, in 2015 there were 5,344 cars stolen. In 2017 there were 9,451 cars stolen.
Nationally car crime is also increasing. The recent rise follows substantial progress made in the 10 years from 2003 – 2013 when car thefts were reduced by around 75% in the West Midlands.
Mr Jamieson called for car manufacturers at the event, including BMW, Ford, Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Audi, to increase security so vehicle crime doesn’t continue to rise.
The PCC also called for a new law to ensure electronic devices, used by criminals to steal cars, are only sold to mechanics, experts and auto locksmiths who are registered with a recognised trade association. Mr Jamieson wants key cloning gadgets to be removed from sale on the mass market.
Professor Siraj Shaikh, an expert in systems security from Coventry University’s Institute for Future Transport and Cities, said a rise in cases of keyless theft should be a wake-up call for carmakers and an impetus for them to work with cyber specialists to boost vehicles’ security.