Why you should wrap your car keys in aluminum foil
You walk to your car and put your key in the air. Press a button and the doors will open. You no longer have to put the key in the ignition.
It sure is handy. However, you can also invite high-tech car thieves who can jack up your car and drive away in seconds, without even setting off an alarm.
If you have a real keyless car model, thieves can intercept the signal. How do they do that? Understanding how autohacking works can help you avoid it. Do you want to be shocked? Tap or click here to watch a video of thieves stealing a car in about one minute.
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How your car’s security system works
Your key ring contains a small computer chip. This chip is programmed with a unique code that it sends to your car’s security system.
The car also has a chip, which uses the same algorithm to generate codes. Simply put, if the codes match, the car will open.
How Criminals Attack #1
Manufacturers have learned in recent years that this chip technology has programming flaws, and experienced hackers can use this vulnerability to unlock millions of vehicles.
This was a terrifying surprise. Each pair of key fob/car locks is unique and each can create billions of codes. But researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands and the University of Birmingham found that by intercepting the wireless signal twice, they could narrow the possible combinations from billions to just 200,000. After that, a computer can retrieve the code and unlock the car in just half an hour.
In a real-life application, a thief could sit on the street collecting wireless signals as car owners get in and out of their vehicles. Then they could steal a lot of cars.
Still, it takes an experienced car thief or hacker to carry out these types of attacks, so the chances of it happening to you are slim. However, thanks to always-on keychains, there is another risk that is much more likely.
How Criminals Attack #2
Always-on key fobs are a serious weakness of your car’s security. As long as your keys are within reach, anyone can open the car and the system will think it’s you. That’s why newer car models won’t unlock until the key fob is less than one foot.
However, criminals can get relatively inexpensive relay boxes that pick up keyfob signals up to 100 yards away and then send them to your car.
In other words, your keys could be in your house and criminals could use the relay box to walk up to your car and open it. Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to prevent hackers from stealing your signal.
Steps to stop car thieves
There are a few easy ways to block criminals’ amplified signals.
Keep them in the fridge. The free option is to use your fridge or freezer. The multiple layers of metal block the signal from your key fob. Check with the manufacturer of the fob to ensure it will not be damaged by freezing. Place in the microwave. If you don’t want to freeze your keychain, you can do the same with your microwave. The metal frame should work just as well as your refrigerator. Here, however, it is vital that you do not turn on your microwave as you can cause serious damage and even start a fire. Wrap your key ring in foil: this one is tricky. First, you have to convince your friends that you haven’t fallen for some crazy conspiracy theory. More importantly, wrapping your fob in aluminum foil can hinder your ability to use it. But the tactic is to prevent hackers from stealing your signal, and you can even find a small box and cover it with foil, just for storage purposes. Buy an RFID Blocker: This kind of signal theft isn’t just a problem for car key fobs. Newer passports and other identification chips contain radio frequency identification chips. Criminals can use a powerful RFID reader to steal your information remotely. You don’t need aluminum foil, though. You can invest RFID blocking wallets, purses and passport cases.
Hacking key chains isn’t the only threat to modern cars. Tap or click here to see how hackers can gain control of cars through the entertainment system and other attack options.
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