Technology, particularly wireless technology, presents an increasing number of challenges and risks as our devices are continuously connected and communicating with each other. Any device in constant communication is susceptible to being hacked, and one such device is your car. In fact, media coverage has highlighted several stories of car break-ins without visible exterior damage. An exposé written by USA Today attributed these incidents to a new form of hacking wherein criminals use special amplifiers to boost the signal of key fobs and unlock your car unbeknownst to you. However, a follow-up story on Dailytech.com labeled these assertions as purely speculative and overblown.
Can you car really be hacked? Today, cars, even when turned off, are actively listening for the key fob. As a consequence, the active listening presents hackers with an opportunity to attempt a break-in by using an amplifier to tap into the signals emitted by the key fob. However, while this method seems entirely possible, it still hasn’t been proven beyond doubt. Nonetheless, there are devices available that provide millions of calculations to break the code that the key fob provides. Still, this method takes some time—up to half and hour in some cases—to determine the right combination of numbers needed. Therefore, it isn’t as fast as the process discussed by USA Today.
On a separate note, car-theft criminals are succeeding in breaking into garages and homes. In some of the reported cases, people failed to take their garage door openers out of their cars after parking outside in the driveway. In other cases, however, the car’s garage door feature was activated. As a result, criminals simply broke into the car and used the garage door feature to open the garage and walk into the house. While this feature is now built into most cars, it creates additional security risks if you leave your car parked outside of the garage without implementing any security measures. Simple practices such as locking the garage door or the door that leads from the garage into the house will help to secure your home and belongings, especially when you are away for a considerable length of time. Additionally, if you use a traditional garage door opener, always remember to take the device out of the car when parking outside in the driveway.
Even more so than cars, mobile phones are highly vulnerable to hackers, who often use cellphone jammers to prevent cellphones from receiving signals by creating some form of interference. While cellphone jammers are illegal in the United States, they have proven tough to eliminate. This has been evidenced by the recent arrest of a man who used a cellphone jammer to effectively jam surrounding mobile phones while he was driving back and forth on a U.S. highway. Since cell phone jammers are indiscriminate and jam every phone within a determinate radius, they are extremely hazardous to the public, particularly during emergencies.