As if things needed to get easier for thieves, now they’ve found a way to hack into new modeled cars, 50 feet away from you.
According to retired FBI agent Holly Hubert, a thief doesn’t necessarily need to get their hands on your car keys to break into it. In an interview with USA Today, the ex-cybersecurity expert explained how if one uses a keyless system, wireless entry, or a fob, to unlock your car, all someone needs to do is steal the wireless signal the device emits. Fortunately, there is a special “tool” you can use to protect you from these hackers.
Tinfoil. Yes, you read that right. Tinfoil.
Hubert says that wrapping car fobs in tinfoil is the cheapest and safest way to block the sensitive information from anyone who is trying to access the signal. Hackers can easily break into your car by using a device to amplify the fob signal, or by copying the code it uses. Usually, the key fob uses a computer chip that creates a unique code that sends to your car’s security system. The car has a chip that uses the same algorithm to generate codes. If the code matches, then boom, the car opens. The scary part about all of this? They don’t even have to be in the same room as you! They can hack the fob from inside your purse, pocket, or even from the street outside your home! Yikes! Who knew technology would get this bad, huh?
Check out the video below to see how to properly wrap your car keys.
Alright, so you decided to cave in and protect your keys…but what if you don’t want to carry around aluminum foil everywhere? Fortunately, there’s an alternative, but it might be a bit expensive. Until automobile manufacturers find a way to come up with cyber protection built into the key device, the next best thing one can do is carry your car key fob in an electromagnetic field-blocking shield. These Faraday bags ( which you can find on Amazon) are made specifically to protect your key fob, and they do work better than foil. However, these babies can cost up to $50, so if you can splurge on it, we highly suggest you do. It’s sort of like a traditional sandwich bag, just made of out foil instead of plastic.
As CEO of GuardKnox Cyber Technologies and a veteran of the Israeli Air Force, Moshe Shlisel says one can tell if these metal protectors work if you can’t unlock a car door when the fob is inside. If you think about it, your car is always waiting for the fob signal. If it’s a newer car model, you might not even have to press any buttons, you just simply need to approach your car and the doors will unlock automatically. That is how car thieves can easily intercept the electronic signal and open your car without setting off any alarms while you’re sitting 20 feet away.
If you’re still worried about potential hackers getting a hold of the signal when you’re at home, don’t fret, the next best thing you can do is put your keys in a metal coffee can, the microwave oven (don’t turn it on), a freezer, or the refrigerator. The multiple layers of metal will block your key fob signal. Of course, first check with the fob’s manufacturer to make you that freezing it won’t damage the device.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there have been no confirmed cases of a recent attack in the United States. However, it does appear to be known as a huge risk that car companies are trying to tackle and come up with a better solution for fobs. Gone are the days where cars used to be hot wired in order for them to work if there wasn’t a key around. Although it might take a pretty skilled car thief or hacker to actually carry out the attack, it can happen. This is the world we live in now, where technology is advancing so quickly that hackers come up with a way to beat it at no cost.
This post was originally published on July 18, 2018.
This article was originally published on April 1, 2019.