Protect your vehicle from theft, through keyless signal relay and cloning methods (relay attacks)

In recent months, there’s been an increase in the number of ‘relay attacks’ reported in the media.  Criminal syndicates target vehicles with keyless entry and ignition technology to copy or intercept the car signal, allowing them not only to gain access to your vehicle, but to start the car and drive away, without raising any suspicion.

In many instances, vehicle owners also have to deal with the additional inconvenience of having valuables such as designer sunglasses, cell phones, laptops, or sporting equipment stolen. These would typically be items that you take with you when you leave the house (see the All-Risk Insurance (OUT-and-About)) section of your policy.

How your car key signal is intercepted

In the case of ‘remote control jamming’ criminals use a gate or garage remote control to jam the signal sent by a car remote control, effectively preventing your door locks from engaging. Car jamming can easily be avoided by manually double checking that your cars’ doors are locked.

When it comes to ‘relay attacks’, vehicles with keyless entry are especially vulnerable. Thieves typically work in pairs using a relay amplifier and transmitter to intercept a car key signal for a parked car. The key fob signal is captured and used to ‘trick’ the vehicle into thinking that the real key is being used.

Protect yourself and your vehicle

We have been working closely with a number of manufacturers on the various methods that you can implement to protect your vehicle.

Permanently deactivate keyless entry

We strongly recommend that clients permanently deactivate their keyless entry system, if possible. Please take a moment to watch the video above and find out how you can protect yourself and your vehicle.

The keyless entry function on many Toyota models can be permanently disabled via the menu on the infotainment system.  Please note you will need to use the remote transmitter buttons to lock and unlock doors and that the keyless engine start function will also be disabled. You will only be able to start the vehicle by holding the remote transmitter directly over the engine start button.

Visit your dealership for security upgrades (Toyota models only)

Shaun Overmeyer, General Manager of Toyota South Africa Motors confirmed that the Hilux Legend 2019-2022, the Fortuner (all models 2018-2022), the Land Cruiser Prado (VX and VXL 2017-2022) and the Lexus LX 450/570 can be taken to a dealership to complete a security upgrade, free of charge. Click here to download the client communication issued by Toyota South Africa on the 5th of December 2022.

It’s important to note that even if you’ve deactivated your keyless entry system, you may still be vulnerable to other methods of theft. To effectively protect your vehicle against theft, we suggest the following for higher risk Toyota models:

Temporarily deactivate keyless entry (Toyota models only)

If your vehicle does not allow you to permanently deactivate your keyless entry, please contact your dealership to assist you in permanently deactivating the keyless entry system. Until such time, you can follow a manual process to temporarily deactivate keyless entry. It’s important to note that the procedure must be followed every time that the vehicle is locked. 

  1. Shut all vehicle doors and press the lock button on the transmitter.
  2. Immediately press the lock button on the transmitter for a second time and hold it depressed.
  3. Whilst holding the lock button on the transmitter depressed, on the second press, press the unlock button on the transmitter simultaneously twice.
  4. The door handle keyless unlock function will be temporarily disabled.
  5. Confirm that the feature is set by either operating the driver door handle or unlock button on the door handle as applicable. The vehicle should not unlock.

To unlock the vehicle, press the unlock button on the remote. This reactivates the keyless entry function.

Aftermarket devices

You may also want to consider purchasing aftermarket devices such as steering locks, gear locks or additional aftermarket immobilisers. Please check with your dealership whether installing these aftermarket devices will have any effect on your warranty. 

We’re ready to assist

Please consult with your relevant dealership for more information and guidance on how to deactivate your keyless entry mechanism or discuss possible additional measures you can put in place.

For any insurance-related queries on ‘relay attacks’, please contact us via email to