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Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology recently proved that smart key fobs which allow a driver to unlock doors and start a vehicle without touching the fob are vulnerable to a simple hack — by extending the distance the fob and vehicle can communicate with one another. 

A simple broadcast relay positioned between your driveway and house enables thieves to open your doors and even start your car.

fob relay hack diagram

This research has, apparently, leaked into the wild and reports are in of inexplicable break-ins, typically when the car and keys are nearby. Read all about the device they created and reported on here.

fob relay hack photos

Keeping your keys in a metal container prevents radio signals from being received/transmitted. Don’t forget about protecting your spare key fob as well.

Suggested links: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology paper titled “Relay Attacks on Passive Keyless Entry and Start Systems in Modern Cars” by Aure ́lien Francillon, Boris Danev, Srdjan Capkun Department of Computer Science | Car.com’s report Keyless-Entry Cars Vulnerable to Silent Theft | YouTube’s High-Tech Thieves Use New Gadget To Gain Keyless Access To Vehicles In Long Beach and Thief takes less than TEN seconds to break into keyless car and Police: Thieves are using mystery device to break into cars 

One Comment

  1. Excellent article Harry. http://www.fobguard.com sells a “faraday cage” for keyless entry fobs made out of materials tested to the military specification for signal attenuation that’s small, flexible, durable and light. It might be a good option for people who want something that they use regularly or want to keep in their pocket.


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  1. […] Read more: We Use Car Keys To Unlock Our Cars, But I Never Knew That It Could Be Used For THIS Related Article: The Faraday cage I keep my car keys in … […]

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