How to protect your car keys from being hacked

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Someone recently broke into my car two nights in a row. The first time I thought it was a slip on my part, and I forgot to turn it off when I got home. So I made a point the next night to lock it up and sound the alarm, and still someone was able to sneak in. Then.

Fortunately, nothing was stolen because there wasn’t much in the car, but of course this orstill unstable. No windows were broken, so how did anyone manage to unlock the car without a key? I think the car is new (we only have it since April), its unlikely anyone has a matching key.

Then a quick glance through the neighborhood Facebook Groups and Nextdoor feeds revealed I’m not alone; Similar break-ins are happening all over town, and many suggest the perpetrator is hacking key fobs. So I did some investigation and quickly discovered Key fob hacking is totally a thing. There are many techniques, but the most common is called “signal boosting”.

What signal boosting?

In contrast to important signal-boosting information on social media, “boost” in this context refers to signal theft. Hackers can use a device that tricks the car and your key fob into thinking they’re close to each other, then emits the fob’s unlock signal without touching any of the fob’s buttons, or car.

Signal boosting is typically used to unlock a car, but a similar strategy can also be used to turn on vehicles with keyless ignition. There are other remote key fob hacks too, such as rolejamming, that records and obfuscates your key fob’s unlock signal, although they are very hard to pull off. But one needs about $20 worth of equipment to boost the signal.

how to stopIn other wordsves from signal boost your car fob

So how do you stop a signal boost attack? Not that you can activate two-factor sign-in or install anti-malware on your key fob. The solution is actually pretty simple: block the signals from reaching your key fob.

There are many ways to do this, but the Faraday bag is the most reliable. These bags form an electromagnetic barrier that Prevents any signal from getting in or out of the bag, like “Faraday cages” the bags are named after him.

You can buy cheap Faraday bags, boxes and wallets online. just drinkWhen you’re at home, keep your keys (or other wireless devices you want to detach) in the bag, especially at night.

If you don’t have a Faraday bag, keep your keys in a thick metal object—such as a refrigerator or safe, for example— Would be better than leaving them out in the open, but we can’t promise it will get blocked Effectively amplifying the hacker’s signal As a Faraday bag. At a minimum, keep your keys at the other end of your house when you are at home. The farther your keys are from your car, and the more walls and other obstacles between them, the harder it is to reach the signal.

Pair a Faraday bag with other anti-theft measures such as steering wheel claws and security cameras, and the chances of someone breaking into your car and potentially stealing it are greatly reduced. Oh, and don’t keep extra keys, fobs, garage door remotes or other valuables in your car. That way, if someone still manages to get in (the windows are breakable), they won’t find much to steal.

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