Friday, December 2, 2022

Your Car Could Be Gone In 60 Seconds Too…

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What this power amplifier does is, amplify the range of the vehicle. So now instead of a couple of meters, now it can search up to whatever distance the power amplifier allows it to. Meaning, if the keys are kept on the dressing table, and the keyless car is parked behind a fence, you are at a very high risk of the car stolen. Power amplifiers could extend the range to about tens of meters. And I thought hotwiring a car took skill. With easy availability of these systems over e-commerce stores, this is a very major concern.

Taking care of the thieves

With the current sales of vehicles at about 72.37 million (2015) worldwide, this could very well turn into a very serious issue. These are not the thieves who bump into you, pick your pockets, and make away with your vehicle. These thieves are efficient with technology, they taking their time and before you know it, the keyless car is gone. Reminds me of the Italian job. Nick Bilton, in an article for the nytimes, explained his way of securing his vehicle by keeping his keys in the refrigerator. This very practical implementation of one of the complex concepts of science, is known as a Faraday’s Cage.

What’s a Faraday Cage?

A Faraday cage is an enclosure consisting of an electrically conductive outer layer. The shape of the enclosure however can be modeled as per requirement. It can be anything from a handy pouch to cylindrical or cubical boxes. The enclosure can be entirely made out of conductive material, or an alternative would be a cardboard box, wrapped in aluminium foil. All kinds of faraday cage have been employed by our on screen stars ranging from Steve Austin (Condemned) to Jason Bourne to scramble and hide from tracking devices.

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A Faraday cage is essentially a metal box, meant to keep signals out (or in). The applied external (or internal) field causes the charges within the cage’s conducting material to be distributed so they cancel the effect on the other side. This phenomenon originally developed for electricity can also be implemented to keep radio signals out.

So you essentially have to walk around with a metal bag to keep your keys in. Sounds difficult? Not so much.

Portable Faraday cage pouch

Turns out there are already products in the market catering to this problem. After all necessity is the mother of invention. One way to keep a keyless car from automatically opening is to keep your keys in the refrigerator as Bilton did. Or you can go for a personal faraday cage. The bags are available over e-commerce stores for as low as ₹ 100. Still too much? Take a piece of aluminium foil in your bag the next time you travel.

Imagine waking up one day to a beautiful sunshine. You go for a run, have a healthy breakfast, get ready to leave for your office. Pack your things, get your keys. Down the stairs and to the parking. Only to find out, there is no car. You look nearby, in hopes of finding it nearby, but it is nowhere in sight. Panic kicks in. If reports are to be believed, that panic can very soon be real and not just imaginary.

Still some areas to look into

This would be one of the safeguards which won’t allow the key and lock to interact. However the system developed by researchers based on cracking the 96 bit encryption, is a whole another issue. That would require the thief to be efficient with computers and notorious in their approach. And judging from the number of hacking attempts on websites, one can very easily judge the number of criminal minds available. Hopefully we can have some changes by automakers in the 300 million cars (estimated) already sold worldwide since the introduction of keyless entry into vehicles.

And possibly hope for some better system in the newer versions.