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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know if the 124 spider's keyless entry has any technology to prevent hacking? E.g. on some cars you can boost the car's detection signal so that it can "see" a key some distance away allowing thieves to enter as if the keys were right next to the car. This is because these cars don't really use proximity to unlock the car, just the detection of the fob's signal.

Related article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/16/style/keeping-your-car-safe-from-electronic-thieves.html?_r=0
 

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interesting article but i question putting the key in the freezer, maybe the fridge. would not the freezer to be too cold for the electronics. Also then when you pull them out you repeatedly subject them to condensation which could cause an issue over time. if you do feel you need to do something i personally would rather opt for a small metal box on a table in the entryway or something, heck line a cardboard or wooden box with tinfoil.
 

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Supposedly you have to stand within a small radius of the door or trunk for the lock to work. There's a diagram in the owners manual.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
@kpoling yes but there are signal boosters that can increase the signal strength of the key. The key has a little limited range that it can transmit (usually just a few steps away from the car). If you step out of this range the fob isn't detected because it isn't powerful to transmit that far. However if the signal is boosted with specialized hardware the car will be able to detect the signal from further away (even if, say, the fob is on your nightstand in the house). It all comes down to if detecting the signal is enough to unlock the doors, or if the car actually has the hardware to calculate the actual distance from it to the key, which is more expensive hardware.
 

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The odds of anyone actually caring enough to do that seem pretty small. There's lots of things that are theoretically possible that don't happen in reality because it's just too much effort for too little payoff.

If someone wants may car that badly they can have it. I've got insurance. It's not something I'm going to worry about at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@tomm lol well it happened to my car last night. Apparently you can buy a signal booster quite easily and then use that over and over again to reap the benefits. An article I just read said an entire block of cars (8 of them) were robbed that way in a matter of a few minutes. One of the owners had a camera trained on the car and they described two men walking right up to it and all of the sudden the doors unlocked and they had full access without having to break anything.

Not trying to scare anyone, just trying to confirm this is what happened to my car. No break-in damage, it was just unlocked when I got there in the morning. They stole $0.50 and went through the junk in my trunk. I have the autolocking system installed so there was pretty much no way I left it unlocked since it auto locks when I walk away from it.
 

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Seems like just putting your keys in a metal box would be enough to stop that avenue of attack. Any sort of Faraday cage ought to keep out any RF snooping.
 

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@kpoling yes but there are signal boosters that can increase the signal strength of the key. The key has a little limited range that it can transmit (usually just a few steps away from the car). If you step out of this range the fob isn't detected because it isn't powerful to transmit that far. However if the signal is boosted with specialized hardware the car will be able to detect the signal from further away (even if, say, the fob is on your nightstand in the house). It all comes down to if detecting the signal is enough to unlock the doors, or if the car actually has the hardware to calculate the actual distance from it to the key, which is more expensive hardware.
Except that the car can pick up the key from virtually across the parking lot - I've unlocked/locked it with the fob many times, even from inside a building but - if I use the button on the door and leave the key fob even 5 feet away the car won't unlock. Not until I physically put the key in my pocket does it sense enough to unlock the door. So clearly there is some other sensing going on here.
 

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The fob emits a very weak field constantly, that the car can pick up from only a few feet away. Pressing a button gives a burst of a much stronger signal that the car can recognize from much farther away.

The fob's weak emission doesn't die to zero, just very weak more than a few feet away - too low for the car to detect. These boosters pick up that very weak signal from a few dozen feet away and amplify it to the point where it's strong enough that the car thinks the fob is nearby - and unlocks.

So the way to defeat this attack is to eliminate the RF emission by the fob by keeping it in a metal box when you're home. The box will absorb the RF field completely and prevent the amplifiers from picking it up out in your driveway.
 
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