Cars and Vehicles
June 16, 2024
Crime Prevention
How to decrease your chances of getting your car stolen?

How to decrease your chances of getting your car stolen?

Cars are increasingly being stolen by criminals using technology to exploit the keyless entry systems found in many modern vehicles. This method, often referred to as a "relay attack," involves […]

Cars are increasingly being stolen by criminals using technology to exploit the keyless entry systems found in many modern vehicles. This method, often referred to as a "relay attack," involves using electronic devices to amplify and relay the signal from a car's key fob to unlock and start the vehicle. Here's how the process generally works:

  1. Two-Person Team: Typically, two thieves work together. One stands near the car with a device that can capture the signal from the key fob, and the other stands closer to the house or wherever the key fob is located with another device to relay the signal.
  2. Signal Amplification: The device near the house picks up the key fob signal and amplifies it, sending it to the accomplice's device near the car.
  3. Unlocking and Starting the Car: The car receives the relayed signal and interprets it as if the key fob is nearby. This allows the thieves to unlock the car and start the engine, driving away without physically possessing the key.

This type of car theft has been reported in various regions, including the UK, but hasn't yet become widespread in places like Victoria, Australia. However, the risk is still present as the technology becomes more common.

How to Avoid Being a Victim

Here are several steps you can take to protect your car from being stolen via a relay attack:

  1. Use a Faraday Pouch: Store your key fob in a Faraday pouch or bag. These pouches are lined with metallic material that blocks the signal, preventing thieves from intercepting it. Make sure you replace your Faraday pouch every 2-3 years as it does degrade with time.
  2. Turn Off Keyless Feature: Some car manufacturers allow you to disable the keyless entry feature. Check your car's manual or contact the manufacturer to see if this is an option.
  3. Steering Wheel Lock: Use a physical steering wheel lock. This adds a layer of security, making it more difficult for thieves to drive away with your car even if they manage to unlock it. Consider one that comes with an alarm as well. 
  4. Park Securely: Whenever possible, park your car in a secure area like a locked garage or a gated facility. If you have to park on the street, choose a well-lit and busy area.
  5. Key Fob Sleep Mode: Some key fobs have a sleep mode that prevents them from emitting a signal when not in use. Check your key fob’s manual to see if this feature is available and how to activate it.
  6. Install an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port locking device: The best way to describe OBD is that it is the brain of the car. OBD ports allow car manufacturers, garages, and owners easy access to diagnostic information about their vehicles. Installing an OBD locking device is generally a simple process. However, if your car is still under warranty, it is advisable to consult with the manufacturer to ensure that adding the device will not impact your warranty coverage.
  7. Regular Software Updates: Ensure your car's software is up to date. Manufacturers often release updates to fix security vulnerabilities.

By taking these precautions, you can significantly reduce the risk of your car being stolen through technological means

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