A Timely Security Upgrade Saves A 2019 BMW 320

A Timely Security Upgrade Saves A 2019 BMW 320

This weekend has been a good one for us at #StarLineUK!

Two vehicles were saved from theft thanks to StarLine vehicle security systems and, more importantly, – our highly-skilled Partners handling the installation.

The first story, involving a 2019 Lexus LX570, is here. The second story is about one of UK’s most targetted vehicle models – BMW 3 Series:

At the end of June, one of our Partners had worked on a 2019 BMW 320 that had a generic 433Mhz*** (outdated) aftermarket car alarm system on it that didn’t even feature engine blocking. After witnessing the so-called ‘backup siren’ being deactivated in a few seconds, the owner approach a StarLine technician asking for a solution, and originally wanted the old alarm removed and replaced.

*** Factory car alarm systems work on the RF433Mhz frequency using the Keeloq encryption, and so do most generic aftermarket ones. This frequency is scannable and the Keeloq encryption is not much of a challenge to crack. Most vehicle security systems that rely on the above can be easily compromised by thieves using a device known as “code grabber”.

Having examined the vehicle, the StarLine technician recommended to keep the alarm, but introduce a security upgrade:



Seeing that the car had no engine immobilisation in place and no OEM keyless entry system protection, the technician recommened StarLine i96 – world’s most advanced and reliable CAN-BUS immobiliser + taking into account how easy it is for a thief to access and deactivate the existing alarm’s siren, he recommened having a bonnet lock fitted (i.e. StarLine L11+. ).

The immobiliser would ensure that the vehicle is unusable without owner authentication. More specifically, – the engine can be started, but will immobilise as soon as motion is detected + anti-hijack algorithms are in place in case the owner’s smart tag / smartphone go out of range whilst the vehicle’s engine is running (a carjacking or physical key theft scenario).

The bonnet lock would prevent access to the car’s engine compartment and the elements there i.e. the car’s battery, the aftermarket alarm’s siren, and the wireless engine immobilisation relay – #StarLineR6 – that the owner had opted for in addition to iCAN (digital relay-less engine blocking via CAN-BUS).


StarLine i96 – world’s most advanced and reliable CAN-BUS immobiliser. Compatible with all popular BMW models.
StarLine i96 features 3 methods of owner authorisation: BT smart tag (pictured), personal smartphone, PIN code on dash buttons.


The owner later said that opting for this much-needed security upgrade was one of the best decisions he’d ever made in his life, because, you better believe it, 2 days after the upgrade, his vehicle was attacked again, and as the thieves tried to open the bonnet to silence the siren (which is the very first thing any thief will try to do), were met with a hoodlock which makes the bonnet appear ‘jammed shut’ and requires damaging it in order to open it by force (which no thief wants to do as it would significantly lower the vehicle’s worth on the black market).

So as they are struggling to open the bonnet, the siren still blaring and continuing to attract attention – they decide to give up almost instantly as it becomes apparent that this particular vehicle is not an easy target and the risk is too high (not enough time). So they make a hasty escape. It happened so fast that the owner was still in the process of trying to reach the police on the phone.

Unfortunately, the car sustained damage to it’s lock as it appears they used a screwdriver to pick it (which was what triggered the old alarm).

It cannot be determined as to what method the thieves had planned to use on this occasion, but it’s apparent that they it wasn’t the infamous ‘signal relaying’ (a.k.a. relay theft / relay attack) – the method most commonly used on keyless vehicles – as signal relaying does not require forced entry. Whatever their plans were though, we can say with fair certainty that they were doomed from the start as this vehicle has 2-way engine blocking (analogue + digital), so it would be virtually impossible to take this car any other way than towing it away.



If you’re concerned for your vehicle’s security and/or interested in joining #ConnectedCarsUK, feel free to contact us or your local StarLine-approved dealer for more information on protecting / tracking / monitoring your automobile, or any other form of transport.

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