Keyless security issues

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Post by 164 coupe » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:06 pm

I emailed BMW with my concerns on this issue. I have copied and pasted my question to them, and their reply. It hardly fills me with confidence that they recognise and acknowledge the issue.............


I am contacting you to voice my concerns at the recent rise in thefts of BMWs. My concern is the way in which the car thieves seem to aquire BMW keys, and are able to re-program them via the vehicle's OBD II port. Being a member of various online forums, and reading the motoring press, it makes for very worrying reading. It is even more so when I own a very desireable Alpina D3 BT Coupe. Can you tell me what BMW are doing on this issue, and how they can re-assure customers?


Dear Mr Allan



Thank you very much for your online communication dated July 20, 2012. I am extremely sorry to learn that you have been given cause for concern regarding the security of your vehicle following some coverage on the Internet.



Firstly, I would like to advise that whilst BMW take pride in guaranteeing the safety and performance of our vehicles, respecting the safety regulations existing in the various countries, a car manufacturer cannot possibly know the many techniques used by criminals all over the world. At this stage, I can only recommend that you contact your local police force, who can instead advise on the measures to adopt to deter local criminals, since this is their field of expertise. I sincerely hope that the police bring this situation to a close.



Furthermore, I also understand that you would like to know if BMW are taking steps with regards to this issue. In this instance, I suggest that you liaise with your local BMW Approved Dealership. After inspecting and assessing your onboard computer, they will be in the best position to advise if there are any issues or updates required.



I am sorry that I have been unable to fully address your concerns in this first instance, however, I do hope that this information is of use to you. I have recorded details of your contact as an official customer complaint under case reference number 1-8290347105, which may be utilised as part of our ongoing internal auditing programme in the future.



Yours sincerely



BMW UK

Eileen Thorpe

Customer Service Executive

Ellesfield Avenue

Bracknell RG12 8TA

Tel: +44 (0)870 5050 160

Fax: +44 (0)870 5050 205

Mailto: customer.service@bmw.co.uk
URL: www.bmw.co.uk
Roy Allan
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Post by bmw virgin » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:22 pm

Looks like a standard response from BMW!

Both the BMW replies shown above are very very similar....they probably have a script prepared!

Think we need to aim higher up the BMW tree....maybe even contacting the likes of BBC's Watch dog or other such consumer groups?!
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Post by vblanche » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:29 pm

indeed, very bad attitude from them. This is absolutely scandalous...
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Post by joylove » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:39 pm

bmw virgin wrote:Looks like a standard response from BMW!

Both the BMW replies shown above are very very similar....they probably have a script prepared!

Think we need to aim higher up the BMW tree....maybe even contacting the likes of BBC's Watch dog or other such consumer groups?!
It would help if people who email BMW bothered to copy in the known stock responses and noted that they had already seen them.
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Post by SleeperService » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:16 pm

I too have now emailed the BMW customer services team.

Whilst I expect exactly the same response, it will be one more email in the pile that are complaining about this issue.

I say to all of us, that we need to continue to fill the CS inbox with as many messages as we can.

Maybe one day the volume of mail will make someone pay attention, somewhere.
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164 coupe
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Post by 164 coupe » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:58 pm

SleeperService wrote:I too have now emailed the BMW customer services team.

Whilst I expect exactly the same response, it will be one more email in the pile that are complaining about this issue.

I say to all of us, that we need to continue to fill the CS inbox with as many messages as we can.

Maybe one day the volume of mail will make someone pay attention, somewhere.
Exactly right. The more complaints and queries they get, the less they can ignore this pressing issue.
Roy Allan
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D3 BT Coupe #164 (sold)
Suzuki SV 650s

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Post by vblanche » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:03 pm

so, how many members does the AlpinaRegister have? :think
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Post by SleeperService » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:11 pm

and another flat, contentless response... I guess I am honoured that the format is different.

I have asked her if indeed a software upgrade will be forthcoming and also if a review of the E9x security is indeed underway!! lets see what response I get.


Thank you for your email dated July 31, 2012. I am sorry to learn that you were almost a victim of a theft crime and I appreciate the concern that this has caused.

All BMW vehicles sold within the UK Market are tested and comply with the security regulations in the UK. In the UK specifically, we ensure that the vehicles are tested against Thatcham requirements. However, there are instances when a determined criminal can establish methods to gain entry into a BMW or any other manufacturers vehicle, which regrettably is out of our control.

Software is updated periodically to ensure our vehicles remain secure, however, we are unable to guarantee that a software update will stop any theft. As I am sure you can appreciate the criminal fraternity are advancing their technology all of the time. However, we are always endeavouring to stay ahead of the people behind organised vehicle crime. We monitor instances of vehicle crime closely, this is why the periodic updates are available.

I would like to assure you that this is an area which is constantly under investigation. All vehicle manufacturers work in partnership with the requisite official organisations to ensure vehicles offered for sale meet all the legislative requirements. We constantly review the level of vehicle security to ensure our products remain in the hands of the rightful owners.

Once again, I am sorry that you have had reason to write to us under these circumstances and I trust that the information provided is of use and clarifies our position.

Yours sincerely

BMW UK
Stacey Owen
Customer Service Executive
D3BT #200 Lux Pack and Switchtronic

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Sunday Times article on Keyless thefts

Post by ade and liz flint » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:08 am

I stuck this little lot in the General section, but wanted to be sure as many owners see it as possible...so I repeat :roll: ......

I only just got round to reading last Sunday's Sunday Times InGear supplement. However, when I did.....a 2-page spread on keyless car thefts :evil:

There are a number of very interesting points they have highlighted within the article, some of which makes for quite shocking reading.

So in summary:-

1 This fault has been known about by security experts for 3 years, but only in the past year-or-so have there been reports of 'mysterious vehicle thefts'

2 Thatcham has investigated and discovered that keyless entry cars were soft targets and that there is no easy solution to the problem.

3 The thieves process is foolproof (Jason, you were so lucky, mate *phew*) and they use the modus operandi we're all aware of which takes a maximum of 3minutes.

4 National Statistics show car crime fell >10% 2010/11 to 2011/12, but theft of luxury cars increased.

5 Last year in London, 39% of cars stolen were taken without keys. 2years before, that rate was almost zero. It is estimated about 1000 cars were stolen in London by this method last year.

6 Equipment for this type of theft is readily available (ST reporters had no problem obtaining it)

Now, the REALLY SCARY ONE

7 Insurers are beginning to refuse payouts for this kind of theft. There is a case of a guy having his 335i stolen in this manner, to be told by his insurers ' Your vehicle is almost impossible to steal without the keys....without a key the vehicle would not have been removable [unless] via winching the vehicle onto a recovery truck or trailer'. To the owner the implication was very clear: he was in some way complicit in the disappearance of the car - hence their refusal to pay out. The ST has since forced the insurer to back down with their evidence and they have now paid him out.

8 BMW drivers are not the only ones affected (no $h1t sherlock) and Police are concerned that the longer the loophole goes unplugged, the more common the crime will become. They are, however, achieving some convictions (but far from enough IMO)

9 Insurance companies are warning that the thefts will start to affect policies if they continue to rise as they are now fully aware of this issue and I quote ' we'll be monitoring the situation and possibly insisting upon additional security features such as a tracking device'

10 The problem for car makers is that there is no easy way to make their cars more secure. BMW said (usual tripe) that its cars met British security standards but forced them to comply with EU rules re OBD ports. It also said its new models had been updated so keys could not be cloned with CURRENT programming devices.

11 Iain Wallace of Thatcham said ' in terms of a possible solution, the first obvious thing is to somehow restrict physical access to the diagnostic port. This currently would be against EU law.......'

So, guys. If you haven't got one, get at the very least a physical, visible deterrent to theft and USE IT! Always. If you can move/modify your OBD port, do it. Nothing in EU law stops owners modifying this, and you can either supply the servicing dealer with the modified cable, or tell him the new location of your port. Be aware that if you do something 'silly', ie a super-cap across the terminals, and it blows BMW's diag system, they may be after you for damages, so think about it carefully.

I will be sending a link to this post to Matt for his perusal on his return from holiday, and I'm adding it to the thread Charles started, too,

HTH some of you
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Post by bmw virgin » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:45 am

Very interesting reading - well done Ade!

It seems to me that the best option is to fit a steering wheel/hand brake lock that's known to be very secure?!

Moving the OBD port is all well & good but it won't stop the little sh*ts from breaking the window & possibly causing additional damage in frustration!

Also, if BMW ever come up with a fix, you'll still get the bar stewards trying thier luck for a while. The fix needs to include a visible change that can be spotted from outside the car.

I'm not planning on "upgrading" as yet but it is a worry whilst there's still a security issue.....
Colin
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Post by vblanche » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:50 am

bmw virgin wrote: It seems to me that the best option is to fit a steering wheel/hand brake lock that's known to be very secure?!
would it be the famous disklok? very secure?
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Post by ade and liz flint » Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:03 am

bmw virgin wrote:It seems to me that the best option is to fit a steering wheel/hand brake lock that's known to be very secure?!

Moving the OBD port is all well & good but it won't stop the little sh*ts from breaking the window & possibly causing additional damage in frustration!

Also, if BMW ever come up with a fix, you'll still get the bar stewards trying thier luck for a while. The fix needs to include a visible change that can be spotted from outside the car.
Spot-on Colin. I agree with you entirely. Handbrake locks won't fit E9x-ers, though.

@Vince - yes, I would suggest in your situation (where you live/park etc) a big Swear-off bright yellow/silver disclok would help keep your car in your possession.
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Post by B10BRW » Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:18 pm

Have sent the following to Axel Rimpler Alpina Production Manager ,and Jonathan Ganser Sales Director.

Dear Axel and Jonathan,

BMW and Alpina vehicles with electronic Keys being stolen

I do not now whether you are aware of the serious problem in the UK of BMWs and Alpinas being stolen without the use of Keys.
This only applies to vehicles where the fob has to be inserted in the dash.
Over the last few months it has become an epidemic, with vehicles being stolen on a daily basis.
The thieves have discovered that the alarm system in BMW & Alpina vehicles is flawed, there is a blind spot in the alarm system whereby breaking the passenger side window near to the wing mirror does not activate the alarm. This would only seem to apply to RHD vehicles.

This gives them access to the OBD port, using a blank key and a laptop they are able to clone the key to the vehicle, then start the vehicle and drive off.
BMW have denied there is a problem, and blame the positioning of the OBD port on EU regulations.
They will not admit their alarm system and yours is seriously flawed, and is therefore “not fit for purpose”

Several members of the Alpina register and I, have contacted both BMW and Sytner, and their replies are an insult, they both say there is nothing wrong with the current set up, and are hoping that owners with affected vehicles will go away.
When I bought my New B3s BT last year, I thought I was buying a vehicle with a state of the art alarm system, new BMW’s are easier to steal than older models.
There is a video on You tube showing a 1M being stolen from outside the owners house in less than 3 minutes!!! using the method mentioned above.
The owner had CCTV monitoring his BMW, during the night the thieves stole his car without the alarm going off, and you can see them pushing it down the road to avoid the sound of it starting waking the neighbours.

On the website Pistonhead.com there is a 75 (so far ) page post on the thefts of BMW’s and Alpina’s.

There have been several late model Alpina’s stolen, including a B5 estate which is one of only four in the UK.

More and more articles are appearing in the British press with regard to these keyless thefts ,latest being the Sunday Telegraph, and BMW will still not admit there is a problem.
If this was happening in the USA, they would get it fixed as soon as possible.

This problem we know is not of Alpina’s making, but is down to the poor positioning of the OBD port and the useless alarm system of the donor vehicle.

I have been the proud owner of BMWs and Alpinas for over 30 years but will never buy another one again unless BMW rectify the flawed security on my Alpina FOC.
Having Read the posts on various forums, I find am not alone, many other owners have stated they will never buy a BMW/Alpina again.

If BMW do not fix this problem, residuals will fall rapidly, as who wants to buy a vehicle which is so easy to steal.
Owners will find it impossible to sell their vehicles.
As the amount of claims rise, Insurance companies will increase the premiums on affected BMW/ Alpina vehicles and they will become too expensive to insure.
The worrying thing for Alpina is that they are reliant on BMW to have a decent alarm fitted. As your cars are now so easy to steal I can see Alpina’s UK market disappearing.

Can you as a maker of BMW based vehicles do anything to persuade BMW to address this problem.
At the moment BMW’s stance is appalling.


Kind regards,


Brian

If nothing else they will be aware of the anger and disappointment felt by Alpina owners, and the poor response from Sytners :(

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Post by joylove » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:31 pm

Now that's a bit more like it. :clap:
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Post by ade and liz flint » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:36 pm

That's great Brian...except it's the driver's side window which they break to gain 'unseen' access.

Interested now to see their response :whistle
Current:
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Previously loved:
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PORSCHE: Macan S, Cayman 981 S

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