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Car owners warned that key fobs could be vulnerable to hackers

AAA warns car owners that key fobs are vulnerable to hacking
AAA warns car owners that key fobs are vulnerable to hacking 01:58

BOSTON - Wireless key fobs are part of everyday life for car owners, but now AAA is warning hackers might use it against you.

A supposed new TikTok challenge is teaching people how to use special amplifier devices to get the signal from your key fob in your house to then unlock your car as it's parked in your driveway.

"Our car keys and our vehicle actually are talking to each other pretty much constantly, waiting for that signal to unlock," AAA spokesperson Mark Schieldrop told WBZ-TV. "So the thieves are able to intercept that signal, boost it, get the car unlocked."

There are things you can do to protect your car and belongings. First, if you're able, keep your car in a garage or well-lit area. Don't store valuables in your car like your phone or your keys. 

And watch where you store your keys. The closer they are to your car, the more likely someone can get in.

"Maybe even keep it stored safely in a metal box to block those radio signals," Schieldrop said. 

Tips for preventing a key fob hacking. CBS Boston

The break-ins are hard to detect, with no shattered glass or evidence.

"It's really hard to prove how that person got in the vehicle, unless the thief is caught red-handed," he said.

And typically the thieves can't take your car, since they wouldn't be able to restart it again without the actual key. 

Kia and Hyundai have launched improved anti-theft software to tackle the issue. In the meantime, AAA is warning drivers now before the trend takes off.

"Our concern is that as these social media trends spread, more and more people will be incentivized to figure out how to get their hands on one of these devices," Schieldrop said.

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