You walk to your car, and you increase your key. Press a button, and the doors to open. Perhaps the lights; maybe there is a pleasant “boop BOOP!” For millions of drivers, this habit is automatic. There is no need to have the key in the ignition lock more.
It is certainly convenient. You can, however, also be invited to a high-tech car thieves who can jack your car and drive away in seconds, without so much as setting an alarm.
Want to be shocked? Tap or click here to watch a video in which thieves steal a car in about a minute.
Your keychain uses an electronic signal, and the newer models don’t even need you to press a button. Just approach your car, and the doors will automatically unlock. In some vehicles, the engine will also turn on.
If you are a real keyless car model, thieves can intercept the signal. How do they do it? Insight into the mechanics of a “car hacking” can help you avoid.
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How your car security system works
On the inside of your key fob, there is a small computer chip. This chip is programmed with a unique code which it sends to your car security system. The car also has a chip, which uses the same algorithm for generating codes. Put simply, if the codes match, then the car is opened.
How criminals attack #1
For the past few years, manufacturers have learned that this chip technology is of programming errors, and experienced hackers can use this vulnerability to unlock millions of vehicles.
This was a frightening surprise. Each key fob/car safety pair is unique, and each can make billions of the codes. But Researchers from the Radboud University in the Netherlands and the University of Birmingham to find that by the interception of the wireless signal two times, they could restrict the possible combinations of billions to just 200,000. After that a computer can figure out the code in just a half-hour and unlock the car.
In a real-world application, a thief would sit on a street to collect wireless signals if car owners to enter and exit their vehicles. Then, they could steal many cars.
Still, it takes an experienced car thief or hacker to perform this type of attack, so the likelihood of it happening is very small. However, thanks to the always-on key fobs, there is still the risk of that is much more likely to happen.
How criminals attack #2
Always on key fobs a serious weakness of your car safety. As long as your keys are in range, anyone can open the car, and the system will think that it is you. That is the reason why newer car models will not unlock until the key fob is within a foot.
However, criminals can get relatively cheap relay boxes that capture key fob signals up to 300 meters away, and then transfer it to your car.
In other words, your keys in your house, and criminals can use the relay box to walk to your car and open it. Fortunately, there are a number of simple steps you can take to keep hackers from stealing your signal.
Steps to stop car thieves
There are a few simple ways to block criminals’ enhanced signals. You can buy a signal-blocking bag that your keys, such as a shielded RFID blocking pouch.
1. Stick in the fridge. The free option is to make use of your refrigerator or freezer. The multiple layers of metal will block your key fob signal. Just contact us with the fob’s from the manufacturer to ensure the freezing of your key fob is not damaged.
2. Place in your microwave. If you don’t like to freeze your keychain, you can do the same with your microwave. The metal frame should work as well if you have a refrigerator. Here, though, it is vital that you do not use your microwave on, if you could cause serious damage and even start a fire.
3. Wrap your key in foil: This one is tricky. First, you need to convince your friends that you have not fallen for some crazy conspiracy theory. More importantly, wrapping your fob in aluminum foil will hinder your ability to use it. But the tactics that need to prevent hackers from stealing your signal, and you can even find a small box and line it with foil, just for storage purposes.
4. Get a RFID-blocker: This type of signal stealing is not just a problem for the car key fobs. Newer passports and other identification contain radio frequency identification chips. Criminals can use a high-powered RFID reader to steal your information from a distance. You do not need aluminum foil, however. You can invest in RFID blocking wallets, purposes, and passport cases.
Keychain hacking is not the only danger of the modern cars. Learn how hackers can control cars by the entertainment system and other avenues of attack.
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Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.