How to Keep your Keyless Car Safe - Connected Essentials

What is keyless entry car technology? 

Without being overly technical, keyless entry car is a locking system within modern cars wherein you can lock or unlock your car by simply touching the handle provided you have your keyless car key fob in hand. Once inside you do not need to insert a key to start the engine.

This is part of a surge of advances within the automotive industry that aims to increase convenience for the driver - but there are concerns flagged in increasing convenience at the expense of safety.

So, Are keyless entry cars safe ?

...is a question we hear regularly. Such a convenient method of locking and unlocking the car comes with drawbacks - if you lose your fob, theoretically someone would hop into your car, turn it over and drive away, no need for a key. So, providing you keep your key fob as safe as you would a regular car key, there's no problem, right?

Wrong. There has been a dramatic surge in 'Relay Attacks' on keyless cars, which has led to a massive increase in vehicles being stolen from driveways around the country. This crime means your car can be stolen whilst on your property, silently and with no damage - you could wake up to find your car gone without a trace.

What is a Relay Attack?

Also known as relay theft, keyless car theft or RFID theft, this is the practice where a thief uses a device known as a relay to scan your home for the signal that a keyless car fob emits. Once your home has been scanned and the signal is found, the device sends it - or relays it - to the car, allowing them to open the door without the physical fob. 

How to Stop Thieves Stealing Keyless Cars

To protect your keyless entry car, you need a safe and convenient solution that blocks the signals from inside your home. Relay devices can pick up a signal through doors and walls so it is imperative you keep them in a safe, secure, (and most importantly) signal-blocking container.

These containers come in many shapes and forms and go by many names - (signal blocking box, fob safe, key signal blocking case, signal blocking pouch etc.) But a more uncommon reference to these containers is called a faraday box, or a faraday cage, named after Michael Faraday - an English scientist who's pioneering work in the field of electromagnetism (no pun intended) led to the very technology that contains electromagnetic signals.

The cheapest and arguably least effective would be a domestic item solution, such as a metal biscuit tin with a lid. This DIY solution has been reported to stop the signal, though it is inconsistent in its effectiveness and wouldn't be the prettiest thing sitting in the hallway.

The next, most common iteration is a Faraday Pouch - these are small and universal, designed to fit most key fobs (though some bulkier fobs may have some trouble), but the downside is you will have to remove your fob from the rest of your key bunch in order for it to be able to seal the signal from all sides - not the most convenient solution, and if you air on the side of forgetful - like so many of us do, you may find these much easier to lose.

The best solution to stop keyless entry car theft, in our opinion, is the RFID version of a classic key box. These are spacier and more stylish home accessories that let you place a full set of keys inside, but have the same Faraday Cage properties thanks to a unique material lining on the inside that acts as an insulator, preventing the signal from escaping. These boxes take the effort out of removing a key fob from the rest of your keys, whilst at the same time being presented in a stylish and home-friendly accessory that you will enjoy using and looking at, as a reminder to key your fob safe from keyless entry car theft.

RFID Faraday Signal Blocking Box

 

Further Reading:

https://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-tech/101890/how-to-avoid-keyless-theft

https://www.driving.co.uk/news/features/six-ways-thieves-can-break-into-a-car-and-how-to-prevent-it/

 

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