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Organized criminal gangs are increasingly targeting high-end cars with keyless security systems, a UK motoring industry group has warned. The thieves are able to bypass security using equipment intended only for mechanics, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said. Manufacturers are trying to stay ahead of the thieves by updating software.

It has been reported that some London-based owners of Range Rovers have been denied insurance over the issue. The warnings echoed those made by the US National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), which earlier this year said it had seen a “spike” in car thefts involving equipment to spoof key-less entry.

Key-less entry and ignition typically works by the driver keeping a fob on their person which automatically opens the car and activates it so it can be driven. As the popularity of key-less systems has increased, criminals have been buying equipment online that is able to re-program keys.

“The criminal act of stealing vehicles through the re-programming of remote-entry keys is an on-going industry-wide problem,” said Jaguar Land Rover.

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