Keeping Your Car Safe From Electronic Thieves

July 24, 2015

PURE’s claims team is seeing an increasing number of automobile break-ins and even automobile thefts by criminals who are hacking into the vehicles' Smart Key keyfob.

How it’s being done.

Normally, when your Smart Key keyfob is within 3 feet of your vehicle, it transmits a signal to the vehicle telling it to unlock the door. The device being used by hackers extends this radius to 300 feet, allowing someone to unlock the car while your keys sit on your kitchen table or another nearby location.

How can you protect yourself.

Any vehicle with a keyless entry system is at risk. While much research has been done to fix the vulnerabilities within these systems, such a fix does not yet exist. However, there are a few simple tricks you can use to block these unwanted signals:

  • Faraday bags. These bags, commonly used in law enforcement and by the military, are made of a plastic-like material that’s designed to block external digital interference. They can be purchased on Amazon.com for less than $10.  
  • Aluminum foil. Believe it or not, simply wrapping your keys in aluminum foil while they are not in use can block the unwanted signals.
  • Refrigerator and freezer. Many concerned vehicle owners are storing their keys in refrigerators or freezers because the signals can’t penetrate the walls of these appliances. However, it’s important to note that the colder temperatures inside could harm some keyfobs so check with your car dealer before using this method.
  • Remove the battery from the keyfob. As a last resort, a less-convenient option is to remove the battery from the keyfob, which will turn off the key’s ability to send a signal. You will then need the physical key to unlock the door; the keyfob will need to be very close to the start button in order to turn on the car.


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For additional assitance, contact a PURE Member Advocate at memberadvocate@pureinsurance.com or 888.813.7873 (PURE).