Car Key Security Risks: Fact and Fiction
Learn about the real and imagined security risks associated with high tech car keys
The internet can be a wonderful source of information, but unfortunately it is also a place where it is very easy for myths and urban legends to grow. For example, if you use Facebook, you might often see people posting and reposting stories about scams they have supposedly encountered.
Whenever you see this type of story online, it’s best to go double check it on a site such as Snopes.com. Or, if the story has to do with locks & keys (as did one story we recently spotted) ask your friendly neighborhood locksmith.
In this blog, we’ll discuss two common tales that are circulating on social media about car keys so you will know which is fact and which is fiction.
Can Car Thieves Capture Your Remote Entry Codes?
We recently spotted one post on Facebook warning drivers not to use their key fobs to lock their cars from a distance when going into a store or other business. In the post, the author described seeing some sketchy characters loitering outside a shop watching people going from their vehicles to the store. The author claimed that these characters had a device that could capture the signal sent by a key fob to the car lock and then reproduce that signal in order to open the car door later on.
This is not true!
High tech car keys that feature lock and unlock buttons on the body of the key or on the key fob do not use one single code to operate the locks. Instead, they use a rolling code system with literally millions of possible combinations. In other words, each time you click that lock or unlock button, a new and distinct code is sent that cannot be reused by a thief.
Can Car Thieves Exploit Proximity Keys?
Perhaps part of the reason that the myth regarding key code capture has been revitalized recently is that thieves have discovered a new way to exploit certain types of high tech car keys.
If you have a vehicle with keyless entry and keyless ignition, you normally have to bring your key fob within a few feet of the vehicle for the fob and the vehicle to “talk” to one another. However, a thief can use a simple, inexpensive amplifier to boost the signal so that the vehicle and the key fob can communicate from hundreds of feet away. This tactic has been used to steal Priuses and other types of vehicles right out of people’s driveways. The best way to defeat this theft tactic is to keep your key fob in the freezer, which will block the signal completely.
Need Help with Your Car Keys?
If you’ve been locked out of your car or broken your car key, RBM Lock & Key can help. We can duplicate many kinds of car keys, including ones with computer chips inside. Be sure to visit us before the dealership for affordable automotive locksmith services!