Hot potato: Keyless car theft has become a growing problem in recent times as car thieves have learned how to hack into wireless key fobs. Security measures to deal with these new practices exist, but recent comments from the president of the British Automobile Association have called them into question.

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With the advent of key fobs that automatically unlock and start cars, car thieves developed ways to bypass their digital locks, and security measures were developed in response. The situation resembles a game of cat and mouse between hackers and security services throughout the IT world.

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Recently, cheap electronic devices have appeared that allow thieves to duplicate the signal of the key fob proximity sensor from a distance of several meters. They can then relay this signal to an accomplice standing next to the car, allowing them to open and start it. Expensive luxury cars, which most often use proximity sensors, are obvious targets.

Police and car manufacturers suggest car owners keep their key fobs away from their cars and from doors and windows when not in use, ideally in a metal or aluminum container to block the signal. Vendors also offer metal or wire mesh lined bags that block signals when storing key fobs.

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However, the current measures are not enough for the president of the British Automobile Association (AA), Edmund King. King this week said The Telegraph reports that thieves stole his wife’s Lexus for £50,000 despite her key fob being in a bag in a metal box in the part of their house that was furthest from the car.

In response, King began storing the keychain, bag, and box in his microwave oven. Even if this solution works, it is certainly not practical. A stronger protective material for containers is a logical step, although it may be more expensive.

King also resorted to an older car safety feature that was quite popular in the 1990s, the steering wheel lock. He is thinking about installing a guard post and a gate at the entrance to the driveway, which is prohibitively expensive for most.

The essence of the problem lies in the fact that the driver needs to open the key fob when entering or leaving the car. King suspects that someone picked up his wife’s key fob signal when she parked the car after observing their daily routine.

The final solution may be to disable the proximity sensor, which many key fobs allow. King believes that car manufacturers should always inform customers about this option.