How theft can hack your keyless car & 7 ways to prevent it

Updated Nov 08, 2022 | Same topic: Let's Drive Smart! will cover the method that thieves usually use to hack your car and how to prevent it.

Technology has made cars better and more comfortable, with all the features that make driving safer and even multi-media like an infotainment system! The use of keyless fobs and one-touch start button on them, and for ignition too; so that entering and starting a car will not need a car key. Unfortunately, car thieves can hack them faster than key equipped cars and this included start button equipped ones too.

Now more than ever the disuse of keys needed for starting and opening a car lock, but it may increase the risk of losing your car. will cover the method that thieves usually use to hack your car and how to prevent it.

car hacking methods

Thieves try to use different methods to hack your car

Why keyless car is an easy game for the thieves?

It is a mistaken assumption that keyless entry and ignition is foolproof and better than keylocks or ignitions. Here are the ways that carjackers make it an easy-grab and go because of cloning intercepted signals; easier than stealing old general cars. For most intents and purpose, it takes only a few minutes without their way forced into the car!

1. Keyless entry using a relay and signal cloning device

Using a relay device that will intercept any wireless key fob’s signal and relay it to a cloning device that will open the car easily, and start the one-touch ignition. It’s all done in few short minutes, by two perps who will wait until the car is parked, to do it.

2. Jamming without keys

A device that jams the key fob's signal to the lock the door; and the owner will take it for granted the doors has been locked. When the owner is away, the thieves have access to the unlocked car because of the signal jammer!

Device that jams the locked vehicles

The device that theft uses to jam the locked vehicles

3. Remote control of the air pressure sensor

This is a smart and less popular method that hackers can send signals to the tire pressure sensors to display the wrong pressure. Through GPS and a link to the systems of the car; they can track and follow until they have an opportunity to steal the car. One of the problems with premium cars is the hackable aspect of their ECU systems!

Remote control of air pressure sensor

Hackers can track your car by sending signals to the tire pressure sensors

4. Disabling all safety features through the Controlled Area Network

Through devices that can hack the car's computers using the car’s wi-fi or phone connects; that is used to send a radio signal that will bypass the CAN network remotely. It causes errors to show on the dashboard; which can panic the driven to stop anytime. This radio-hack attack will give them time to intercept and get the car.

5. Onboard diagnostics hacking

This is one of the least obvious and stealthiest ways to access a car, and it is done by some car shops that can clone new keys with a cheap kit to clone keys for later heists of cars. Most owners do not know of these devices because they access the OBD port to make a new key with relative ease.

Hacking car OBD2

Hacking car OBD-2

6. App flaw local remote control

Using the cars tracking option via GPS and the Controller Area Network of the cars computer network (CAN) that is hacked, and changed on purpose to access and locate the target vehicle easily. With the Internet in cars; they are easily opened and started without the key fob with ease. Once the frequency is cloned, and access to the internet is establish; the car can even be remotely driven too! Luckily, this function isn’t available yet in the Philippines.

7. Phone phishing

Are calls made in the car using the infotainment Wi-fi? If it is so, opening malicious emails using the infotainment system will give access to the car's system. Using the details, hackers can access remotely, and they attempt to grab the car at any time!

>>> Related: How to install car keyless entry: Definition, Step-by-step guide, and FAQs

7 basic devices to prevent theft even if the cars wireless features are breached

When new tech has failed to protect modern cars; there is always the old school way that is crude. These devices are simple yet effective; plus it delays the perp for time to call the police or stop them ourselves.

1. Steering wheel lock

It prevents the wheel from turning and will prevent any thief an easy picking; because it will take time to remove it! Hooray for old school and simple devices.

2. Baby monitor

If the car is parked in an open garage; using a baby monitor is cheap and with the house Wi-fi, easy and cheap to use.

3. Dash cam

Some dash cams will record when there are sudden shocks that cause it to record immediately. It will dissuade most perps who don’t want to be identified; if they’re smart!

attempted theft caught by dash cam

Attempted theft is easily caught thanks to a dash cam

>>> Also check out: 8 Great Benefits of Installing Dashcam In Your Car

4. Hidden kill switch

This device will shut off the car’s engine when it is tripped. It can be installed for cheap and is a simple device.

5. GPS tracking device

Consider any GPS tracking device that is installed inside and will work as long as the car battery has power in it.

GPS tracking device

Attaching a GPS device to keep tracking your car's location

6. Signal blocking pockets

One of the cheapest and most practical options is using Signal blocking pockets that are lined with any material that prevents the key fob signal from being cloned. Even with a line of sight; that thieves love to acquire, but they won’t be able to relay in this situation.

7. Wheel lock

One of the best ways to thwart car theft is by using a wheel lock that prevents a car from moving! It’s very simple, effective and cheap preventive as well!

Wheel lock

Wheel lock is a popular way to prevent a car from a robbery

Relying on tech isn’t enough, using simple physical devices can be the cheap and the best options too. But, other methods are welcome too and all because we need to protect our investment!

>>> More tips & advice on how to keep your car safe from theft in the Philippines:  

Norjan Ismail Abbas

Norjan Ismail Abbas


Norjan enjoys writing about various topics, and car is among them. Don't ever ask him which his most favorite car is since he has none. He believes each car is beautiful in its own way.

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