Most people use security systems and key fobs in their vehicles to protect them when they are parked in parking lots or outside their homes. And considering that is the only standing between their pride and joy, why shouldn’t they? I recently read an interesting blog post written by a world renowned technology blogger Kim Komando.
The rapid advance of technology, in particular to increase security devices has not deterred criminals; they also have become more sophisticated in their tactics. You’d be amazed to know how easily thieves can steal your car using the signal emitted by the key fob.
How do the key fobs work? Roughly speaking, a key-chain remote control uses a computer chip to create unique code that sends the command to the security system chip installed in your car. The security system controller installed in the car has the same algorithm to generate codes. If the codes match, the system will open your car.
But always active key chains pose a serious security weakness, says Kim Komando in a recent column for USA Today. Therefore, new car models do not unlock unless the key fob and car are not in a close proximity.
Criminals can get an amplifier that detects signals from key chains to up to 300 feet (91 meters), and then transmit them to your car. In other words, the keys could be in your home, and criminals using this device would be able to open your car. There is an even more sophisticated way to steal cars.
Fortunately, there are ways to block the electronic signal emitted by your key-chain. One simple method is to cover your security remote control in a piece of kitchen foil. Or you can make yourself a small box covered with foil where you can store your car keys. This interrupts the signals of the key fob.
Another way of doing this is to keep the key in the microwave or put it in the refrigerator if the manufacturer says it can be done without damaging the device. That is a bit impractical if we’re honest. You can’t keep your car keys in your fridge or microwave all the time. What if someone at your home turns the microwave on with the keys in while heating the last night’s pasta.
The question is, if thieves here in Pakistan have these gadgets as well. Although I doubt they have them, but I don’t think a security system has ever been able to stop a thief. Cars like Toyota Corolla X are favorites of thieves. They are imported from Japan, and you would think they would have sufficient security systems installed from the factory, but even then thieves have been able to steal them. They usually keep an ECU with matching car key. And as soon as they find an unattended Corolla X, they hook the ECU in, and use the matching key to start the car. It doesn’t take them much longer, and your precious car is gone.
So as much as these security systems are there to help you protect your car, it is better not to solely depend on them.