MEMPHIS, Tennessee – Hackers and criminals are becoming more sophisticated.
Many use people’s car keys to break into cars.
FOX13 Consumer Advisor Kate Bieri explains how they do it.
If you get into your car without a physical key, do you ever worry about security?
One person said they weren’t worried, although hackers hack into key fobs.
A team of researchers did just that.
The door was locked, they have a computer nearby and in just a few seconds the car lights came on and the door is open.
Rajesh says: “And I thought, you know what, maybe we’ll just try that and try it on my car,” saddened Rajesh, a junior at the University of Dartmouth. “Next thing you know, that worked.”
Rajesh and his co-researcher Blake Berry are IT security researchers who prefer to remain incognito.
You could not only open the car, but also start it.
When the couple was asked how easy it was?
“Oh, 200%,” Rajesh said. “I mean, an 8-year-old could do that.”
According to AAA alerts, the computer could have been in a car parked nearby in a location that picks up the signal being sent by your key fobs, a built-in transmitter, and the car owner could have been in the store without noticing that someone had broken into his car.
“They came up with a device that actually boosts your fob signal so it doesn’t have to be right next to the car, but they can still get in with your fob signal,” Shuppe said.
“And they’re trying to track down your codes,” Michael Chan said.
Michael Chan knows.
He programs backup and replacement fobs at the company he started 20 years ago, Duplicating Keys.
Now it’s tethered and he said later car models with rolling codes on their trailers are safer.
“The needles keep rolling,” he said. “So it’s difficult to duplicate the existing number.”
But it’s not available in older systems like the pre-2021 models that Rajesh tested, which many automakers don’t update.
“But they’re not implementing this technology anyway, which is kind of alarming,” Rajesh said. “If they did, essentially what we’re doing wouldn’t work at all.”
So what can you do when you leave your vehicle in a shop or even at home?
“Or, you know, when you’re home, keep your keys in a metal container with these fobs because that’s going to prevent the signal from going out or being received,” Shuppe said. “Or invest in one of those RFID bags.”
The pouches act as a shield and are widely used.
“So you can get them on Amazon for like $10, maybe $20,” Rajesh said. “And that basically prevents anything from going forward. I mean nothing is electricity security and probably never will be.”
Our advice to you, take things out of your car and don’t leave them in your car. Even if they fixed it, they would find another way to get in.
So keep an eye on your vehicle even if you are some distance from your car with your key in your purse or pocket, as someone could pick it up.
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