How did we ever live without keyless-start cars? From not having to fumble with a key ring to get in and start the car to all the little-known uses for your car-key fob, keyless ignition systems are becoming more and more attractive to consumers. And that’s a good thing, as they’ll soon be universal. Edmunds reports more than half of cars sold in the last year had a keyless ignition system. But as with so many technological advancements comes the inevitable plague… hackers. And that car-key fob may be their latest target.
When you unlock your car from a distance, the key fob sends an electronic code to your vehicle. According to Jim Milan of Auto Accessories Garage, thieves can actually steal the code as it’s being sent to your car. “Under normal circumstances, when you are not close to your car, the radial signal the car uses to activate the key is too weak for proper signal communication and the keyless entry feature will not work,” Milan said. “However, when thieves use a special signal amplifier between your car and the key, the car will think the key is next to it and will unlock.”