How does keyless entry work?
Keyless fobs contain identity chips that are constantly listening out for radio signals broadcast by their car. The radio signals can only travel short distances – typically but five meters.
When you put your hand on the door handle of a keyless car (in some cases you have got to press a button), the car sends out a brief radio wave. If the fob is in range, it’s then triggered to reply to the car, sending out its code. The car recognizes this and unlocks the doors.
The process is analogous to start the car with a button and systems are usually advanced enough that they’ll only start the car if the key fob is inside. Increasingly, there are keyless boot opening systems, just like the one on the BMW 3-Series below, with sensors on the rear bumper. Waggle your foot underneath the bumper and therefore the boot will open automatically, without you having to touch the handle – handy if your hands are full.
What is the Keyless Entry?
Keyless entry systems hope to eradicate the boring and frustrating look for keys tucked away in rucksacks and purses. No modern cars require you to unlock your door by physically turning a lock to any extent further – and a completely keyless system doesn’t even require any button-pushing. Just having the key fob in your pocket is enough to unlock the doors, keeping your hands unengaged to put valuable items securely within the car.
Once inside, you’ll be able to simply press a button to begin the engine, if the car includes a keyless start-stop still.
What are the issues with Keyless Entry?
Your car doesn’t automatically flip the engine and lock itself if the fob goes out of range. This is often to make sure that you are not suddenly stranded within the middle of the motorway if its battery dies. However, this also implies that you’ll drop someone off who has the keyfob in their bag or pocket then move. As soon as you switch the engine off, you will not be ready to start the car again.
There are serious concerns about the protection of keyless entry systems, with several ways in which thieves can breach them. In 2011, researchers from Zurich showed how the radio signals emitted by cars might be boosted, tricking it into thinking the keyfob was nearby. Police have investigated criminals who block the signals from keyless devices, so car doors never lock, and there also are allegations that thieves can intercept the codes that are transmitted between keyfob and car.
In 2014, after a spate of Range Rover thefts, police advised owners to suit a wheel lock as a second line of defense against thieves who were able to overcome keyless security. Land Rover subsequently issued a fix for his or her cars.
Security experts recommend that you simply keep keyless entry keys off from doors and windows, and in a very shielded protection case, as thieves can steal the signal to copy your key wirelessly, from outside of your house.
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