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Car thieves' scary new tool

Car thieves' scary new tool
© Tommaso79 | Dreamstime.com

The days of using a key to open your car door and start the engine are just about done. Even "old" cars have wireless entry with a button press on a key fob, and on newer cars you don't even need to press a button.

When you get an always-on key fob in range of a newer car, the fob and car connect wirelessly, which unlocks the car and even lets you start the engine with the push of a button. To quote Captain Jack Aubrey from the movie, "Master and Commander," "What a marvelous modern age we live in." Except there's a problem.

Not to toot my own horn, but I actually pointed out this problem four years ago in a column titled "Keyless entry risks." The risk being that a thief could amplify the signal between the key fob and the car, and the drive off with it while you're at home or in the grocery store.

At the time I said it wouldn't happen regularly because it takes some technical skill to amplify the signal. However, as with every other technology, things that used to be hard and expensive are now much simpler and cheaper.

Next page: Why your car is no longer safe, and how much it costs to steal a car
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