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Tech expert shares tips on how to protect cars from high tech break-ins

Published: May. 24, 2021 at 11:26 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thieves no longer need to smash a window, or break a lock to get into a vehicle, some are now doing it in a more sophisticated way with high-tech gadgets.

Steve of Hawaii Kai said he thought he left the doors to his truck unlocked overnight until he went through footage from his neighbor’s security system where a car drove up to his truck around 1:30 a.m. on April 16.

“And then the police officer noticed that as they were driving up that my lights flashed, indicating that the truck had been unlocked remotely,” said Steve. “And I have both the fobs on me and so they decided that they must have unlocked the truck with a remote somehow.”

Local technologist Ryan Ozawa says one possible way thieves could unlock car doors is with radio frequency gadgets.

Ozawa said they are legal & can be purchased on Amazon for over $300 or from Alibaba out of China for over $100.

“So, these key fobs are actually exchanging encrypted data between themselves and your car,” said Ozawa. “The hackers are forming a bridge so then it’s like the key is in your car, even when it’s not.”

Ozawa said there is a way to protect your car from these devices.

“The primary way people are protecting against it is by using like RF blocking bags, or like Faraday cages basically, to prevent their key fob from being contacted even when it’s in your pocket or in your house,” said Ozawa.

Although less than a hundred dollars’ worth of items were stolen from Steve’s truck, he said the break-in made him realize a car isn’t a safe place to keep things and hopes others will be just as cautious.

“Don’t take for granted that if you leave things in there, they’re going to be there in the morning,” said Steve. “So that’s pretty much the shift in my thinking from it.”

In addition to not leaving valuables & garage keys in your car, CrimeStoppers advise investing in car alarms with shock & motion sensors.

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