Education, Prevent car theft, Privacy and Security -

Outsmarting Tech-Savvy Thieves: Harnessing the Power of Faraday Bags and Lockboxes to Secure Your Vehicle

Mission Darkness Faraday bag for Keyfob inside a vehicle lockbox prevents signal amplification

The rapidly evolving world of technology has vastly improved the convenience of our day-to-day lives. One of the areas where this progress is most evident is in the automotive industry. Vehicles now commonly come with 'smart' keyfobs, which allow us to unlock, lock, and even start our cars without needing to physically use a key. However, the rise of this new technology has also introduced novel threats to vehicle security. One such threat is keyfob signal amplification, a technique used by thieves to gain unauthorized access to vehicles. This post will explore a unique solution to this problem: the use of faraday bags and how it can be used in combination with lockboxes.

Understanding the Problem: Keyfob Signal Amplification

When it comes to vehicle theft, technology has inadvertently become a double-edged sword. A new method of car theft has emerged in recent years: keyfob signal amplification, also known as signal relay attacking. This involves boosting the signal from a keyfob (usually from within the owner's house or nearby) to unlock a vehicle parked outside. If a keyfob isn't adequately shielded when not in use, it can emit a signal that tech-savvy thieves can intercept and amplify, enabling them to unlock and even start the vehicle without the actual keyfob in their possession.

This vulnerability can become especially troublesome in settings where vehicles are shared amongst various users, such as rental car agencies, workplaces with communal vehicles, or families sharing a single vehicle. Trading off the physical keyfob can be inconvenient and leaves room for security lapses if not done carefully. In many cases a lockbox attached to the vehicle is preferred for transferring or sharing a key. However, this this method for trading smart "always on" keyfobs has proven to be an easy target for criminals looking to gain malicious access.

The Solution: Faraday Bags Plus Special Lockboxes

The solution lies in a two-fold approach: faraday bags and special lockboxes. A faraday bag is a type of enclosure created by Faraday's law of induction. It blocks electromagnetic fields, thus stopping the signals emitted by an electronic device such as a keyfob from reaching outside the bag. In other words, it shields the keyfob, preventing unauthorized signal interception and amplification.

While a faraday bag addresses the signal amplification issue, it does not solve the problem of physically transferring the keyfob between different users. This is where the special lockbox comes in. There are multiple types of lockboxes used with vehicles, with differing attachment techniques and capacities. When selecting a lockbox, choose one with a secure attachment mechanism and a large interior compartment, to ensure there is enough space to fit the faraday bag and contents inside. The lockbox pictured rests comfortably on a car window, and acts as a secure storage location for the faraday bag and the keyfob inside. Only those with the correct lockbox code can gain access to the faraday bag and, by extension, the keyfob.

faraday bag inside lockbox provides automobile security

A keyfob stored inside of a lockbox alone, without the use of a faraday bag, would allow someone to gain access to the vehicle. The lockbox itself does not block wireless signals. That is why the combination of a faraday bag inside of a lockbox is required.

This integrated solution not only addresses the threat of keyfob signal amplification but also offers a convenient solution for scenarios where vehicles need to be shared without the need for direct keyfob handoff. The keyfob can remain with the vehicle, securely shielded in the faraday bag within the lockbox. This approach is also beneficial for people who don't want to carry their keyfob around, such as surfers, swimmmers, runners, or other athletes.

Mission Darkness Faraday Bag for Keyfobsblocks wirlesss isgnals prevents signal boosting of smart fob

The Mission Darkness™ Faraday Bag for Keyfobs is flexible and can conform in size to fit inside a lockbox, as pictured here. It can be removed from the lockbox and used to prevent signal amplification while your vehicle is unattended parked nearby or at home (while your fob is in range of amplifying or "boosting"). Here is a video that demonstrates the signal amplification concern and solution.

Conclusion: Taking a Proactive Approach to Vehicle Security

As vehicle technologies continue to advance, so too do the methods employed by thieves. To stay one step ahead, it's crucial to take a proactive approach to vehicle security. Using a faraday bag in conjunction with a specially designed lockbox is a practical, efficient solution to thwarting keyfob signal amplification. It protects the vehicle from unauthorized access while providing a convenient solution for sharing vehicles without the hassle of a direct keyfob exchange. As we continue to embrace smart technology, it is essential to consider security measures like these that can ensure our technology serves us — not those with nefarious intentions.

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