Keyless entry fobs result in rash of vehicle thefts

in security on (#8TR4)
story imageAs vehicles become more technologically advanced, thieves are becoming technologically savvy, too. Cars with a hands-free key fobs typically unlock a car within about 30 centimeters. But across the USA, thieves have begun using a device called a power amplifier to help unlock cars. The amplifier, which can cost less than $20 over the Internet — takes the signal from the car and projects it as far as 100 meters, so your car can find your key fob in your purse, pocket or the table where you dump your stuff when you come in the door.

In Toronto, Los Angeles, Long Beach, New York, Springfield, and more cities, police have reported a spike in thefts from Toyota and Lexus SUVs, Priuses, and more vehicles, all parked in owners' driveways with no signs of damage. As more people buy cars with these no-push key fobs, what's the solution to stopping this type of break-in? "Use a microwave" or wrap your keys in aluminum foil. The heavy metal cages block the signal. It's another case of convenience becoming a two-edged sword.

Re: I can't say I understand this 100% (Score: 1)

by on 2015-05-11 20:38 (#8VC1)

Sure, the amplifiers are bi-directional, but even such amplifiers have limits. If the normals distance is 30cm, you go within the 30cm range of the car and maybe amplify it to 100m. No problem. This I understood. But an amplifier can only boost what is receives. How far are key/car usually apart. when the car is parked and the owner at home? 20m? 40m? You say there is no way to limit a radio signal to a specific range. Of course not. But when the strength of the key signal is too weak to be detected by the amplifier in 1m distance, it effectively is limited. So, why is the signal strength of the key so strong, that the amplifier can receive and amplify its answer over such a large distance?
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