Potential vehicle security risk

We have been alerted to a potential new security risk that may affect McLaren as well as the products of several other luxury automotive brands.

The “relay attack” that has previously been reported in the media suggested that a car key could be scanned if left within range of the vehicle and the car driven away. The car, however, cannot be restarted as the key was still with its owner.

A second potential method involves the vehicle being scanned by custom equipment left in close-proximity and decoded in ~100 days. A cloned key can be produced as above.

To reassure you, the method is currently considered as a low-risk by experts because the custom equipment required for such a breach, while feasible, requires skilled assembly and use. The equipment also needs to be in very close proximity to a key. To further reassure you, the vulnerability has not been proven to affect our vehicles and we know of no McLaren that has been compromised in such a way.

Nevertheless, we take the security of all McLaren vehicles extremely seriously. Our in-house experts are therefore already working closely with suppliers and the industry to investigate further. The best method to currently protect your McLaren’s key from malicious close-proximity scanning is to keep it within a signal blocking pouch while not in use.

Over the weekend we started contacting every owner of a new or pre-owned McLaren to inform them of the issue and to offer them a signal blocking pouch free-of-charge. This is the only method currently proven to prevent close-proximity scanning. Please note, however, that it does not help prevent the 100 day cloning method mentioned above. For this, software changes to the vehicle are required which are being investigated.

We are teaming up with a supplier to secure enough McLaren-standard pouches to meet the needs of all our owners which will be made available free-of-charge via their McLaren retailer over the next few weeks.

If you have any further questions, please contact McLaren Client Services by emailing [email protected] or by calling +44 (0) 1483 261500.

“While this potential method has not been proven to affect our cars and is considered to be a low-risk, plus we have no knowledge of any McLaren vehicle being stolen by this or the previously reported ‘relay attack’ method, nevertheless we take the security of our vehicles and the concerns of our customers extremely seriously. Therefore we have already begun to write to every owner of a new or pre-owned McLaren (including 4000 customers across the US) for whom we have contact information to alert them to the risk. The communication reassures them that our in-house experts are working closely with suppliers and the industry to investigate further, plus we offering each owner a Signal Blocking Pouch at no cost.”


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