What Hackers Can Do with Key Fobs

What Hackers Can Do with Key Fobs

Key fobs make it effortless to lock and unlock your car, but as a cybersecurity company in Miami, we’re seeing more people concerned about their auto security. Relying more on technology to access a vehicle does open up new, hidden security risks that people need to think about.

Key Fob Security Risks

Understanding the security risks when using a key fob is difficult without a firm understanding of how these devices work. When you click a button on your key fob, a frequency is sent to the vehicle, and it will unlock it.

Hackers can capture this signal and clone it to open your vehicle.

In the past, hackers needed to be close to the vehicle to capture the signal, but now they can use amplifiers that:

  • Boost the key fob signal
  • Capture your frequency from far away

Hackers may not use this “hack” to steal your auto. Instead, many will use this information to open your doors and steal anything that you have in the vehicle.

Automakers and Rolling Codes

Newer autos are being manufactured by some automakers to have what is known as “rolling codes.” German automakers are known for this practice, which will change the code sent to your vehicle to unlock it with each new click.

Since the code changes, this means that even if a hacker taps into the frequency and code, they will not be able to get into the vehicle since the code will change.

However, as a consumer, you may not know if your auto uses this rolling code technology or not. You can do some research by:

  • Contacting the automaker to inquire about rolling codes
  • Read through the auto’s manual to see if it mentions rolling codes

However, while rolling codes are more difficult to hack, hackers were able to break security measures for Honda vehicles that use these codes. How? They resynchronize the number generator and can keep the code valid until they break into the vehicle.

If you believe that someone cloned your key fob, you can have the key fob reprogrammed, changing the code used to open your vehicle.

Protecting Against Hackers

Hackers will always look for vulnerabilities and exploit them to gain access to your devices and even your auto. You cannot prevent every threat, but you can make it more difficult to be a victim. 

A few techniques that you can follow to protect against a key fob hack include:

  • Faraday pouches, which block the signal from being hacked by blocking the signal completely.
  • Metal boxes can also be used to hold the key fob and stop a hacker from hacking into the signal.

On top of these two signal-blocking solutions, you can also exercise caution to deter theft by ensuring that you do not leave anything of value in your auto. Even something as insignificant as a toolbox may be enough for someone to break into your vehicle.

For times when you must keep items in your vehicle, ensure that they’re out of sight and something you won’t be upset about if they go missing.

If you need cybersecurity in Miami, give us a call today. We'll be more than happy to review your security and provide solutions to protect against threats.