You click your key fob to open your car and no matter how many times you squeeze it, it won’t open. Or worse, your car is nowhere to be found.
Thieves can now hack key fobs using what is known as signal amplification.
A U.S. soldier serving in Kuwait recently had his car stolen from outside his Maryland home on two occasions after the key fob was apparently reprogrammed.
Here’s what happened to him and how to keep your key fob from being hacked.
A US soldier named John is stationed in Kuwait. His black Infiniti limousine was parked in his apartment near Prince George’s Plaza. His fiancé Adrian checked his car from time to time. News4 does not use their full names because they could be in danger while the thief is still at large.
Adrian went to Soldier John’s car on October 11th and it was gone. She and her mother, Sister Addi, used a Find My Car app to track it down. After 10 hours they found the Infiniti in Hyattsville. But the key fob didn’t work.
It appeared that the thief had a fake pendant and was preventing the real pendant from working.
“It’s terrible that something like this can happen. This is a soldier trying to make something of himself all the way in Kuwait, ”said Sister Addi.
Adrian and sister Addi called Soldier John in Kuwait and he was able to open the car with his computer.
They called the police who found fake tags on the car, a gun and some marijuana.
When they were there, a man came over, got into the car, and drove away.
“He’s stealing the car in front of the police and us,” said Sister Addi.
Adrian and sister Addi were able to get the car back. But then it was stolen a second time.
This time, the mother and daughter’s detective team tracked it down and found it on Lincoln Road in DC. The driver drove off and stopped at a warehouse on Florida Avenue.
They said they saw him get out, picked up a few things, taken a sip of whiskey, and drove on, northeast and then southeast.
“We just became the police because we had this persecution,” said Sister Addi.
After almost 10 hours, the Infiniti came to rest in Foggy Bottom. The car was found near the metro station.
The police found other fake tags and another weapon in the car. The thief was gone a long time.
Soldier John’s car had been safe since Tuesday evening, locked away in an unknown garage.
A consumer alert about key fobs and how hackers can use them to steal cars. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan shares how to prevent key fobs from being hacked.
Here’s how to prevent your key fob from being hacked
Hackers use a device that will trick your car and trailer into believing they are close to each other. They can unlock your car and even turn it on within seconds.
News4 works for you and has these tips on how to keep your key fob from getting hacked:
- Block the signals from reaching your key fob in the first place. Look for products that block electromagnetic and radio frequencies. Faraday bags or cages are strongly recommended.
- You can put your key fob in a metal container, e.g. B. in a safe. Even a refrigerator will do, although it’s not 100% foolproof.
- Keep your key as far away from your car as possible. This makes it difficult for harmful signals to reach your key fob.
- Use other devices, e.g. B. a steering lock. At least the thieves won’t be able to drive away in your car.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau has these additional tips for preventing car theft, including using steering column clamps, brake locks, and wheel locks.