Repairing and Protecting Locks, Keys and Safes

Repairing and Protecting Locks, Keys and Safes

Does Your Vehicle Have a Keyless Entry System? You Need to Know About This Potential Security Risk

Duane Ramirez

Does your vehicle have keyless entry? While it's hugely convenient, this method of entry is not without its security risks. Some types of entry systems can be exploited by a thief with the right expertise and equipment. So what exactly are the risks? And what can you do to overcome them?

Unsecured Areas

There is only a tangible risk if it's physically possible for someone to gain entry even if the vehicle was unlocked. This means that the potential vulnerability to your remote keyless entry system only becomes a major issue when your vehicle is in an unsecured area, such as when it's parked on the street. So while it's possible for a knowledgeable thief to theoretically bypass your keyless entry system regardless of where the vehicle is parked, the thief would still need to able to get into the vehicle. But how could this keyless entry system conceivably be bypassed?

Proximity Alert Entry

However unlikely, a small risk is present when your keyless entry fob does not require you to physically push a button to unlock your vehicle. Some fobs simply trigger a proximity alert, thus notifying your vehicle that you are approaching it. It then unlocks, although it's technically possible for a thief to simulate this process. The transponder in the fob is emitting the unlocking signal on a continual basis, and a knowledgeable thief might be able to relay this signal from your fob to their own equipment and then to your vehicle, causing it to unlock.

How It Works

So how does this method work? The keyless fob might be somewhere in your home with your vehicle parked on your driveway. A thief would use a small handheld transmitter to receive the continually generating unlock signal (which at this point is too far away to trigger the unlocking process) while standing close to your vehicle. That coded signal is then relayed to your vehicle, tricking it into thinking that the fob itself is within distance. The thief can then steal the contents of your vehicle, or even the vehicle itself if hotwiring is possible. So what can you do?

What to Do

The most effective way is to simply change your proximity alert keyless entry system to one that requires you to push a button on the fob. The unlock signal is then only transmitted when you are within sight of your vehicle and cannot be hijacked, so to speak. Any car locksmith can quickly and easily do this for you. Another way to overcome this potential security flaw is to wrap the fob in aluminium foil, thus blocking the continually transmitting unlock signal. It's not an elegant solution, but it's an effective one

While it's unlikely to happen, it's still important to be aware of this potential security flaw so you can take the appropriate action. Talk to a locksmith for more help.


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About Me
Repairing and Protecting Locks, Keys and Safes

Hi, my name is Olive, and when I was a kid, my dad was a safe manufacturer. I used to love being in his welding shop or accompanying him to jobs to make locks onsite. When I grew up, I did not follow in his footsteps, but I owned a restaurant, and I always thought of my then late father when I put cash into the safe at the end of the night. Through years of being a business owner – sometimes in a not very safe neighbourhood – I learned the importance of locks. I also learned how they can break, how to repair them and how to ensure they in working order. To honor my dad, I wanted to make a blog about locks and safes. Whether you are a business owner, a homeowner or someone curious about becoming a locksmith, I hope you enjoy reading these posts!