Dozens of car models can be unlocked and started with a cheap radio amp

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for what it’s worth: VW is Audi’s parent company, not BMW’s

I would literally pay extra for a car that did not have keyless entry or ignition, but that wasn’t a feature offered on the last two cars I bought.

So keys in the freezer it is. Probably makes the batteries last longer, anyway.

If you can’t easily unlock and start a car with a regular old brass key, I wonder if you should really be driving a standard model car at all. It seems like keyless entry & ignition ought to be a specialized assistive technology, rather than a standard feature.


I want this tech to be available so you could implant the unlock mechanism in a nicer form factor. Having those big, fat keys are now more uncomfortable in your pocket, and causes you to leave it behind easier since it’s not directly locked into the car.


O crap. My Mini is on the list. Nobody tell any bad guys about this please, okay, thanks.

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Disabilities come on much more quickly than the typical car’s lifetime. For example, a shoulder injury can happen in moments, carpal tunnel can happen in months, non-osteo-arthritis can cripple a person within a year. It’s better to have the assistive technology in-place before it’s needed, especially if the cost to retrofit is prohibitive.

Actually, you need 2 amplifiers, one near the car, and one as close to the key as you can get it. That aside, I’m surprised that there’s not an option to just turn off the keyless entry.

I don’t see why they don’t include an RFID chip in the key fob. That would check for proximity, as the ability to remotely amplify the signal from the chip is practically nil.


Surely, those disabilities would also seriously impede your driving ability? Not sure how safe you are as a driver with a shoulder injury. Free movements of your limbs is a prerequisite of driving. If you can’t turn a key how exactly do you hold on to the wheel?

You have to retrain to drive when your mobility is impeded. Or so I would hope as a fellow driver and road user.

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There are injuries that make grasping and turning a key is difficult, but not a steering wheel. Same goes for the shifter.

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They do.


Well, I’ve been diagnosed with all three of those things and none of them required the installation of assistive technology in my car.

However, taking issue with your specific examples is an extremely weak argument against your general point, especially when I’m using only my own personal experiences, so I will take another tack ;).

Having this technology widely implemented is exactly what caused it to be hacked. If we reserved the tech for those who actually need it, such vehicles would be too rare to be worth thieves’ time. And the technology could be implemented very easily and cheaply as an add-on, covered by health insurance perhaps. Pre-installing it is exactly what made it hazardous for the people you’ve mentioned.


This is why I keep spiders in my car.


Somebody in pain is not a good driver, somebody on pain killer, also. We need to remember that cars are death machines and driving them a privilege not a right :slight_smile:

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Does this only affect the keyless entry option that magically detects when you are near and unlocks the car without you doing anything or is my base model CX-5’s key fob constantly transmitting even without me pushing a button?

Also effective, but with spiders you can leave the windows rolled up. :slight_smile:


My Prius key has two completely different methods of unlocking and starting the car: a mechanical key for the door and a slot in the dash to insert the fob into for its RFID thingie, and a radio transmitter that uses a battery in the fob.

I suspect that simply removing the battery from the fob will disable this attack vector, yet still allow the key to be used in the non-radio mode.

I’ll test this when I get a free minute, in three weeks.


Would storing the key’s in a faraday cage pouch/wallet also be a effective counter measure?\

EDIT: Seems like that is already a thing… but the question for me still applies, would it work?


Some of the cheaper systems do, but that’s not what’s being discussed here. These cars use an active, powered transmitter in the fob.

No owner can easily unlock their car with a brass key when both hands are carrying heavy things, or when the keys are somewhere at the bottom of a purse or jeans pocket and you’ll have to go digging to find them.

Keyless entry is not only constantly more useful, it’s much more secure than brass keys.

Even in this new* world (where this hypothetical team of thieves could work together to discretely hold amplifiers near your body while coordinating others at your car), the easiest car of all to steal is one with only a brass key.

*This attack has been known for many years and to the best of anyone’s knowledge it has never materialized and I don’t think there is much expectation that it ever will materialize. The only thing that is “new” is that the parts for building custom radio gear are cheaper these days. Not ot be confused with radio-based fob attacks, which have happened (most of the articles and the video are actually about this) but those don’t work on keyless entry systems, they just spoof a door-unlock signal from a cheap remote fob (which has been misunderstood in some of the articles as allowing car theft). The articles are conflating unrelated technologies because there’s not much else to talk about. Garage door openers are also cheaper and simpler (they use rolling codes, no encrypted handshake) and so are much easier for any radio-tech-toting thieves to open, but for most people the reward clearly far outweighs the risk - having a garage-door-opener pays off immensely.