Tips on how to protect your keyless car from the relay attack

How to protect your keyless car from a relay attack

And I’ll just be taking your vehicle, thank you very much.

Image: ROUDRR, 4JXDJN, RA5IOO/getty

Stealing your elegant new car shouldn’t be easy, yet as a recently published video shot in September  reminds us, everything too often is. That’s because, as it happens, the very same wireless key fob made to unlock and start your shiny automobile can be turned against you simply by those looking for a gone-in-under-60-seconds score.  

But here’s the thing: While the car-jacking technique in question is relatively straightforward to off, it’s also simple to fight against. Just about all it takes is a little bit of precaution and you will sleep easy knowing your four-wheeled friend is safe and sound.  

The method in question is called the relay attack, and, while not a brand new threat, it’s once again on the thoughts of worried car owners following a filmed theft of a Mercedes-Benz in the united kingdom. In the video, two criminals is visible rolling up to a parked car, fiddling with two devices, and then producing their escape. The video is 86-seconds long, but the crime itself had taken even less time.

So how did they do it? As the exact tools used by the two bandits are unclear as the individuals stay at large, the general principle is properly understood. Essentially, a device â€? in cases like this held by one thief alongside what appears to be a garage doorway â€? searches for, finds, and electrical relays a signal from a wireless key balloon inside the victim’s home. That transmission is sent to a second device, kept by another thief, near the vehicle itself. The car is tricked directly into thinking the fob is present, and it is then able to be both unlocked plus started.  

These devices are already spotted for sale online, so it’s nothing like it takes a mechanical wizard to construct one from scratch.  

Importantly, they will only work on cars that have the keyless ignition system � one which allows a driver to start the vehicle by pushing a button following the vehicle detects a key is present. The particular attack would not start cars using a keyed ignition that just have the click-to-unlock fob.

So the best way to stop this? Thankfully, it’s fairly easy. For the device to be able to exchange the signal from the legit balloon, it first must be able to identify it inside the house. Keeping your essential fob in a Faraday sleeve â€? a pouch designed to block stereo transmissions â€? would do this. They are available online, although you’ll want to do some looking around as some work better than others.  

Essentially, you just need to make sure wherever a person store your keys at night occurs include said Faraday sleeve. Plus, if during the day, you keep your car tips in a purse or a jacket pocket, give a second Faraday sleeve to the combine. After all, when it comes to protecting your elegant new wheels, what’s another $100 in the scheme of things?

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