A metal box inside a microwave isn’t most people’s idea of a logical key cupboard, but the AA president explained that it’s where he stores his car fob.
Edmund King already used a Faraday bag – a metal wrap to seal off signals – to contain a keyless fob but it has come a long way since his wife’s £50,000 Lexus was stolen by hackers.
He told The Telegraph that he was so confused about the repeat of the theft that he put the Faraday bag in a metal red box in the microwave at the back of his house. To double-check, it also uses a traditional metal steering lock.
Tech-savvy thieves can transmit signals from car fobs placed inside the house to hack the road.
King believes the burglars at their Hertfordshire home used more sophisticated techniques because his wife’s keys were in a Faraday bag “so we were as far away from the front door as possible so we knew about scanning and grabbing”.
His theory is that thieves took a signal from his wife’s fob when she parked outside their house at 6pm and came back later to steal it.
“We think they came back at 11:45 p.m., used their computer equipment, opened the car and took it out without leaving the car or anything. We didn’t notice it until dawn, by which time the plates must have been changed and placed in the container as he was about to leave the country,” King told the Telegraph.
Car thefts have increased since the lockdown was lifted, with figures from the Metropolitan Police showing a 16 per cent rise in the year to June 2022.
Some of these include criminals using technology devices purchased online to transmit signals from keyless fobs in people’s homes to unlock their cars.
Most cars that offer keyless entry are in the luxury market, which makes it easy for thieves to get off on the technology. Lexus, Land Rover and Mercedes use it, but it’s also becoming more common in mid-range cars.
King wants manufacturers to give drivers the option to disable hi-tech fobs and revert to simple security that’s harder to hack.
“Are we too lazy to put a key on the key fob or open the key if it is to protect us?” he asked.