Car Thieves Are Using “Relay Attacks” From Outside Of Your Home To Trick Key Fobs To Start Cars
by Trisha Leigh
No one wants to go to get in their car only to find that it has been stolen. In fact, most of us would be hard-pressed to think of a worse way to start the day.
Thieves these days don’t need a clothes hanger, broken window, or good timing, they just need a little bit of technological know-how to get into cars that aren’t theirs.
They use an antenna to intercept signals that tell a car the owner is nearby or inside, start the car up, and drive away.
Brian Mello showed in a video exactly how easy this could be done.
“You won’t believe how these guys are stealing brand new vehicles. What you’re looking at right now on the screen are two thieves who are about to go ahead and drive off in some poor guy’s first gen BMW M2.”
He describes how the antenna is facilitating a “relay attack,” which Johnson’s Cars explains like this:
“A relay attack is a method by which the thieves steal cars that have keyless entry/start systems. The criminals approach a parked vehicle (usually on a driveway) and hold a relay box against the front of the house in order to receive a signal from the vehicle key.”
Brian explains that your key fob for your fancy keyless ignition is constantly emitting a signal, looking for your car. Your car is doing the same, like they are separated souls waiting to connect on Tinder.
If it’s that easy to steal your car, you might think there’s no way to prevent such a thing – but Brian says that’s not true at all.
“Now something you can do to protect yourself is you can put your key fob in like a little metal tin or something when you get home or you can use what’s called a Faraday bag or pouch. Both of those will block the signal coming from the key fob so that something like this won’t ever happen to you.”
Faraday devices are used to block electromagnetic frequencies, so they should be effective in this case.
It really is that simple – and I know you’re already excited about thrifting a cool little metal tin – so hop on it.
I promise it will be worth it to avoid the trouble of a stolen car.