Protecting Your Car from Key Fob Hackers

(Photo: Big Stock Image)

(WTNH) — Car technology has allowed for convenience of newer vehicle owners making it easier to unlock or even start a car from far away.

With that ease, this type of technology has also made car theft cleaner. Break-ins have now shown little damage to the actual vehicle and no signs of forced entry. Thieves have become more tech-savvy, hacking into car keys in the form of key fobs or wireless transponders.

By using keyless power amplifiers, or scanner boxes, and by utilizing radio frequency (RF) transmitters which figure out the unique code of a key, these savvy criminals are able to increase the range of detection and unlock a car.

Generally, a key fob will only communicate with a car when it is in range of a few feet of the automobile. However, a device that thieves are using simply amplifies the signal, making the key fob seem as though it is closer to the car and giving the ability for the car to be unlocked remotely. The National Insurance Crime Bureau has conducted a study on these devices with some of their findings revealed in a video.

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Car owners should be more alert with RFID technologies becoming more prevalent in everyday items like EZ-Pass toll payment transponders and building access cards. Even data from passports which have a microchip can also be easily hacked into.

How do you prevent these security vulnerabilities? Shield items that have RFID transponders by using specialty signal blocking cases or simply wrapping key fobs in aluminum foil, a metal box or a Faraday Bag. There have been other recommendations in regards to putting your key fob in the refrigerator, a microwave or freezer, however, this can cause damage.

The number of incidents in Connecticut caused by these key fob hacks is unknown.

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