10 January 2020


When car thieves send mixed signals…

New vehicles have become more and more dependant on technical security advancements, designed to thwart car thieves. However, with the evolution of auto security also comes an ever-adaptive breed of criminals with new techniques to steal your vehicle.

Toronto police have reported seeing a 90% jump in the electronic theft of vehicles across the city from Dec. 2017 to 2018, with the numbers remaining consistent today.

What is ‘electronic theft’?

Most newer vehicles provide key-less entry and ignition via your car’s key fob. The key fob sends a unique radio signal to your vehicle that locks, unlocks and in some cases, even starts your vehicle. But with such modern security measures in place, it was only a matter of time before car thieves found a modern solution.

These thieves have been using signal-boosting devices to intercept your key fob’s radio signal and drive away in, what was once, your car. The devices and methods that are being used can literally intercept and mimic your fob’s radio signal and be used to unlock your car, even when your keys are inside the house.

(Photo posted by: Toronto Police Service)

This is not only an issue for car owners, but dealers as well. A few months back, thieves drove seven new trucks and SUVs off the lot of a dealership in Petawawa, ON, using the exact same method. Car theft has become less about stealing keys or hotwiring and more about, for lack of a better word - ‘hacking’ into your car. But there must be an equally clever way to beat these thieves at their own game, right? Since this continued surge in electronic theft cases, car and business owners have adopted some pretty tech-savvy solutions to deter thieves and avoid becoming a future victim.

Fight technology with… more technology!

There are number of ways to fight back when it comes to avoiding becoming a statistic of electronic theft. We’ve compiled a list of clever methods and after-market products that can help you get the upper hand in this hands-free battle against modern car thieves.

1. Key fob fortress

If you keep your car keys near the front door at home, as most do, it might be beneficial to keep your keys in a metallic container with a lid. This is an inexpensive way to protect your key fob’s radio signal from being hijacked by potential criminals. If you don’t have a surplus of unused cookie tins sitting around, you can also purchase a Faraday bag. These bags (or pouches) are lined with a flexible metallic fabric, designed to mask electronic signals. Both options should keep the thieves’ signal boosting devices from accessing your fob’s radio signal.

2. Immobilize your enemies!

Another way to deter electronic auto thieves is to install an after-market immobilizing device, which prevents them from bypassing the ignition and hot-wiring your vehicle. These devices keep the engine from running unless the correct transponder or key fob is physically present inside the vehicle. A great way to stop car thieves dead in their tracks.

3. GPS.O.S

Tech company, CloudHawk has designed a GPS tracking system that allows you to not only track your car if it’s stolen, but also provides real-time text updates to your phone. CloudHawk installs a hidden sensor, somewhere in your vehicle that sends push notifications directly to your phone if your vehicle moves. This means that if your car alarm and locking system fail you, authorities can be alerted and easily track the criminals down.

Take that, electronic theft!

Even though some of these solutions might cost you a couple hundred bucks, at the end of the day, you can’t really put a price on sleeping soundly and keeping these electronic auto assailants at bay!

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