Stealing Your Keyless Car as Easy as 1-2-3!

December 20, 2017 6 min read

Keyless Car Crime

Let me illustrate a story for you. Imagine it’s Monday morning, you wake up to a glorious morning sunshine with birds chirping and all. You stretch your arms up in the air, get out of bed, and get ready for work. You have a very important meeting with your clients and you’re feeling confident about it this fine morning. You have a nutritious and scrumptious breakfast with your family and now you are officially ready to conquer your day.  You say your goodbyes to your family and out the door you go. You walk to your driveway. The driveway is empty. Where is your car? You parked it here last night. You always lock the doors. There was no glass on the floor of the driveway or alarm that went off in the middle of the night. But where is your car? Of all days today? How did this happen to you? What even happened? You have fallen victim to keyless entry car crime.

Unfortunately, this is a real nightmare some people have had the misfortunes to wake up to. There has been a lot of chatter about keyless car entry crime on the news lately especially in cities like Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California. Keyless car entry crime is on the rise and it takes less than 60 seconds to carjack your car. You may be thinking, “What the?! How is this possible?” Let me break it down for you step by step.

First off, let me give you a brief background on how a keyless entry system works. Essentially, the point of a keyless entry key is to have the convenience of leaving your key in your pocket or your purse. The keyless entry key sends a signal to your car which in return opens and unlocks your car and to take it a step further it can even turn on your car. The signal is only able to be reached if the key is in close proximity to your car. Hence the name proximity key! Proximity keys make the driving experience more convenient and pleasurable. However, convenience comes with a price.

With modern technology, criminals are able to mimic this signal and have the car think the key is in close range when in reality it’s not. This type of carjacking technique requires two people to mimic the key signal and is called a relay attack. Essentially, a relay attack is when criminals hack into your car’s security system. The hackers clone your key signal and have the capabilities to open your car and start your car. This is all done through a pair of radio devices that cost under $20 that can be purchased through any online sites like Amazon making it readily available to criminals.

The first radio device captures the radio signals from your proximity key and then proceeds to send it to the second radio device which allows it to open the car and even start it. Normally, one of the carjackers will go by the front door or garage to retrieve the signal from your proximity key. The radio devices usually have the capabilities to pick up a signal up to 1,000 feet. Thieves have been known to do this type of attack in grocery store and mall parking lots where it is busy and crowded. One of the criminals will walk closely by the victim and retrieve their key signal while the other criminal waits by the victim’s car door. In a situation like this, criminals are known to steal items from inside the car or even as far as take the car. Criminals also target neighborhoods so they can pursue more than one attack at once. A relay attack takes less than 60 seconds to not only turn on your car but also to drive off with it. In this video here, local Houston news channel KPRC investigates further into this keyless car crime epidemic and gives a demonstration on how the devices work. 

Hacking Keyless Cars on the Rise

As you can see, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to carjack a keyless entry system. Through technology, criminals have the capabilities and know how to override manufacturer’s keyless entry anti-theft systems. Carjacking has been on a rise and will continue to increase until manufacturer’s figure out a solution or a countermeasure to stop carjackers from relay attacks. The other thing about relay attacks is that it leaves no evidence and makes it extremely hard to find and prosecute all guilty parties. There definitely will have to be some reform but until then you your personal self should take countermeasures. The good news is, all the current countermeasures are relatively cheap and a great investment for your car.

 Key Fob Guard by Silent Pocket

The ADAC researcher team tested and examined over 20 different models from different manufacturers to see what cars were vulnerable to carjacking using the relay attack technique. ADAC is a prestigious German Automobile Club founded in 1904. ADAC is a group of security experts in all car related aspects. According to the ADAC researchers, these are the most vulnerable and at risk cars for keyless car crimes:

-Audi A3, A4, & A6                                             -Mitsubishi Outlander
-BMW 730d                                                        -Nissan Qashqai
-Citroen DS4 CrossBack                                   -Nissan Leaf
-Ford Galaxy                                                      -Opel Ampera
-Ford EcoSport                                                  -Range Rover Evoque
-Honda HR-V                                                     -Renault Traffic
-Hyundai Santa Fe CRDi                                  -Subaru Levorg
-KIA Optima                                                      -Toyota RAV
-Lexus RX 450h                                                -Volkswagen Golf GTD
-Mazda CX-5                                                     -Volkswagen Touran 5T
-Mini Cooper Clubman

Key Fob Guard by Slent Pocket

If your car is among the list, don’t fret I have a solution for you! All you need is a Key Fob Guard. Ultimately, the goal of the Key Fob Guard is to secure your keys and protect your car. The Key Fob Guard is a privacy and security case designed specifically for your smart keys. This small, durable canvas Faraday cage blocks the wireless connection from your key fob to your car.  Silent Pocket's Key Fob Guard comes in four bold different colors: olive, black, blue and red. These bold colors give off a nice modern look while the canvas still gives it a luxurious look. This small fashionable Key Fob Guard can fit into your purse, briefcase, and even your pocket. This Key Fob Guard is nonchalant and compact.  A Faraday cage instantly blocks all wireless signal to your devices (i.e. cell phone, keys, tablet). The Faraday cage provides security and privacy for your valuable data or in this case your key signal. The Faraday cage can render your device ultimately off the grid, unhackable, untraceable, and undetectable. Silent Pocket offers a Faraday Cage Sleeve that many people use for their spare keys that are stored in the house. This ensures that all your keys signals are blocked and unable to be mimicked criminals. 

Key Fob Guard by Silent Pocket


With this current knowledge, wouldn’t you want to invest in a product that will protect your car and give you peace of mind? The answer is obvious. A Key Fob Guard is the best solution for this current problem of keyless car entry crime.

Don’t fall victim to cybercrime. Protect your assets. Mind the Grid.

For more information on Silent Pocket’s Key Fob Guards and Faraday Cages click here.



ADAC Research

Car theft soars as criminals learn how to beat security devices

Insurance Information Institute Statistics

Keeping Your Car Safe From Electronic Thieves 

Watch Thieves Hack Keyless Entry to Steal a Mercedes in Less Than a Minute

Radio Attack Lets Hackers Steal 24 Different Car Models

Car key drivers are easy to play with radio keys

Relay car theft guidance - How to prevent keyless entry car being hacked by criminals