You might think you have a truly high-tech security system for your car; however thieves are now employing a new twist that will have you rethinking where you put your key fob. As more car manufacturers equip their vehicles with keyless technology, car keys will become obsolete.
Additionally, as this technology becomes more popular, it will become much easier for thieves to tap into it. A radio amplifier and a little tech know-how is all they really need into tricking your car into thinking they carry the fob.
According to an article by Nick Bilton from the New York Times, after being victim for the third time of high-tech car heist, he now keeps his 2013 Prius keys in his freezer. Founder of 3DB Technologies in Switzerland, Boris Danev, suggests by putting your keys in your freezer, you are essentially cutting off the signal, not allowing it to get in or out, since it acts like a Faraday Cage.
Bilton explains he watched a girl who was clothed in jeans and a baggy t-shirt, hop from her bike and take a little black device out of her backpack. She then simply opened the door and got into his Prius. He ran after her once he figured out what she was doing, but really only out of fascination of this black device she used to find out how she was able to unlock his car door. The answer: Amplifiers
Vehicles designed with keyless entry systems have the capability of searching within a couple feet of itself, for a wireless key fob. However, car thieves are now using a $20 ‘power amplifier’ which boosts the searching capabilities of the car, expanding it out almost 100 meters which enables them to pull off this heist.
How Amplifiers Work
Normally, if you were to try the door handle of a keyless entry car, the car calls out for your key wirelessly which allows you to get inside without having to press any buttons. The door unlocks when the key calls back. However, these keyless systems can only search within a few feet for the key. The amplifier boosts the range in which the car can search for the key which can be hundreds of feet away, detect it and unlock the door.
These amplifiers can be bought for around $20, according to tech expert, Eric Richards who works for Samsa in Midland. There really isn’t anything you can do about it.
Really, the only way you can stop the use of these amplifiers is by shutting the device off. However, in order to do this, you would have to take your fob apart and remove the battery. Instead, wireless key vehicle owners are, under the advice of experts, now storing their key fobs in their freezer, refrigerator and microwaves to stop the signal.
Additionally, if you use a GPS tracking device in your vehicle, you will at least be able to find it if it gets stolen. Having commercial crime insurance and business auto insurance is also a must to help reimburse if your car is indeed stolen or any personal items inside it.