How wrapping car keys in foil can stymie cyber crooks

Wrapping a key fob in aluminum foil can help block electromagnetic waves from granting access to cars. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)

WASHINGTON — Wrapping car keys in aluminum foil can lessen the chances cyber-crooks will be able to steal a vehicle, according to security experts.

With the growth of the wireless, connected world, thieves have been accessing key fobs, without the owner’s knowledge, to open garages and steal cars.

According to the Detroit Free Press, thieves can purchase legal devices which amplify a key fob signal, or copy the code to access a vehicle, while the fob lies in a purse or pocket.

Bags lined with foil — or even just a sheet of aluminum foil — can block the electromagnetic waves.

Similarly, many consumers now carry credit cards in a protective, aluminum-lined pocket.

At home, several security experts suggest storing car keys in a metal can.

Methods of stealing property and data often change as technology changes.

“We’re talking about electronic burglary tools or car theft tools,” Clifford Neuman, director of the University of California Center for Computer Systems Security in Los Angeles, told the Free Press. “Cars used to be hot-wired — how much you are concerned, and what you do about it, is a matter of risk management.”

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2018 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.