Cars with a keyless security system are easier to steal than those with normal keys. The technological development in this field led to much higher convenience, but at the same time made it possible for thieves to break into any car with the help of signal extenders. Recent studies also prove this point. However, manufacturers still are not doing anything to address this issue and protect owners by installing a device that will block the signal when required!
The widespread security gap related to the keyless entry system affects all car owners as this is a widely used system on most modern vehicles and not only. This is because it is made too easy for the crooks as they only need to be near the car key with a small device (e.g. next to the door of your house when you sleep) and a second piece of the device should be near the car door. This “extends” the range of the signals by hundreds of meters and the car can be easily opened and started.
Such devices are often referred to as Signal Extenders and unfortunately, they could be easily found in all major online shops such as Amazon or eBay.
How the keyless system works
A keyless entry system is a seemingly advanced security system that provides more comfort rather than safety. With the Keyless entry system simply having the key in your pocket is enough to open and start your vehicle. As soon as the car receives the radio waves from the right key car can be unlocked easily. Touching the door handle or pressing a button on the door handle will unlock the vehicle entirely. Moreover, the car can be started without an ignition key simply by pressing the start button.
Keyless locking systems are widely used today in most cars. If it was only used on high-end vehicles before, now most of the cars have such feature. No “hacking” of data or even encryption is required to steal keyless vehicles. A simple range extender is all that is needed. A stolen car will run without a key as long as there is fuel in the tank (or it is refilled) until the engine is stalled or switched off.
Car theft is made too easy
As the tests on many cars with keyless systems show, almost all vehicles could be opened and driven away without any problems. Only five percent of the cars checked were protected against the range extender attack and thus safe from this type of theft. Important to know that this security gap also exists in keyless convenience systems even if the key is in the house or if you have it with you on the road.
According to the experts, the two devices that are meant for car theft can be created manually as well with only a small effort. The components required for building such a device are worth around 100 euros and are available in electronics stores. The tricky thing about this method is that once the engine is running, the thieves can drive your car without a key as long as there is fuel in the tank. If a thief refuels the tank while the engine is running, he can easily drive the stolen vehicle over long distances.
The problems don’t end with the stolen car for the owners. If the stolen vehicle is found and investigated by the police, there will not be signs of a break-in or other theft methods as signal extenders don’t leave any trace. This can lead to problems in settling the claim or to the suspicion that the owner only faked the theft in order to commit insurance fraud. Hence, sometimes it may lead to even bigger problems that will be difficult to overcome.
How does Secure FOB defend you against car theft?
If you are looking for the best solution to prevent the theft of a keyless vehicle, I have good news for you. There is an innovative and user-friendly chip called Secure FOB that allows you to use keyless entry without worrying about security. All you have to do is install it in the key fob and enjoy all the benefits it offers. It is the best protection against the signal booster that makes it easier for thieves to steal your vehicle.
Keep in mind that having an advanced security system will always pay off in the long run. Secure FOB is a DIY chip that will guarantee a flawless security. Please make sure that your car is not at risk of car theft via signal extenders and use the appropriate device if it doesn’t meet the security standards.
Alternative ways to protect yourself from car theft
- Park in a locked garage
If possible, park the vehicle in a locked garage overnight.
- Away from windows and doors
If you store the keys in the building make sure that there is a hindrance for the signal (such as a wall). Don’t keep it close to the window or the door.
- Possibility to deactivate
If you own a car with a keyless locking system, you should check the owner’s manual to see if it can be deactivated. If so, it is usually impossible to break into the car using the method mentioned above. Before buying a car, consider the security aspect when choosing a keyless system and only choose such an option if it meets all the security standards.
Caution: Wrapping aluminum foil around the key is not a reliable method against theft. This is because the foil does not always provide sufficient shielding and can be damaged by the prongs of other keys. Moreover, if a vehicle is stolen anyway, the owner may be partly to blame because the foil was not optimally applied. This also applies to tin cans or shielding cases, which sometimes allow the radio waves to pass through anyway – for example, if a slightly larger key prevents the case from being closed properly.
How secure is keyless entry on a motorbike?
Keyless locking systems have been available for motorbikes for several years. Individual motorbike manufacturers are increasingly replacing the classic mechanical locks on the steering and ignition with these electronic locking systems. The most notable manufacturers include BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, and KTM.
Researches showed that bike owners are also at risk of motorbike theft.
For this purpose, practical tests were carried out on three motorbikes of different brands with keyless entry systems. The same radio link extenders were used that had already been used in the tests on passenger cars.
On all three motorbikes, it was possible to unlock the handlebar lock and activate the ignition over long distances between the radio key and the motorbike using the radio amplifiers. This also made it possible to start the engine and drive the machines away without any restrictions.