Don’t let SARA steal your car
Don’t let SARA steal your car
SARA is not an actual car thief. It stands for Signal Amplification Relay Attack, a term used by hackers to describe how modern-day thieves can drive away with most vehicles equipped with a keyless entry system. It is also known as Relay Theft or Relay Attack, and it is becoming the favorite method for modern car thieves. Most vehicles with keyless entry systems are vulnerable.
Relay theft is relatively simple and inexpensive. Auto thieves purchase relay devices online or in the black market. The set includes two devices, an antenna amplifier transmitter, and a relay receiver. Working together, one subject holds the antenna amplifier close to the garage door, front door or windows of your home while the second subject stands next to your vehicle. When the antenna picks up the radio signal from the key fob, it amplifies it and sends it to the relay device being held by the second subject. The vehicle is fooled into thinking that the key fob is present and the thieves gain control of the vehicle just as if they had the key fob. Another problem to worry about is that many vehicles today are programmed to open our garage doors when the vehicles are on, so thieves can easily open your garage doors once the vehicle is running. There are videos captured by security cameras showing vehicles that were stolen from a driveway in less than 2 minutes.
So, how can we stop SARA?
Fortunately, it is also relatively easy and inexpensive. We must block the signal from our key fobs. The easiest way and the one I recommend is to purchase a Faraday Pouch and place your key fob inside when at home. A Faraday Pouch is lined with material that blocks radio signals and can be purchased on Amazon for $5 to $10. Make sure you purchase one that accommodates your key fob and any other keys you have attached to it. If it’s not easy to use it, you won’t use it every day. Another inexpensive option is to purchase a metal box and keep all the key fobs inside the closed box. Remember that vehicles come with two keys and you need to protect the second key. If you don’t use the second key, simply wrap that key fob in aluminum foil. Some publications recommend placing your key fobs inside the refrigerator or microwave oven, which block the radio signals, but we do not recommend it for obvious reasons.
Although this article covers vehicles stolen at home, thieves have been known to use this technique on unsuspecting victims as they park and walk away from their vehicles. A subject holding a concealed antenna will walk or stand close to the driver shortly after he/she parks while the second subject stands next to the car with the relay receiver. The car is unlocked while the unsuspecting driver walks away and the thieves drive away seconds later. The relay attacks are also used to open vehicle doors without stealing the vehicle.
Other Prevention Tips:
1) Protect key fobs as described above.
2) If unprotected, keep key fobs as far away from the driveway as possible.
3) Whenever possible, park vehicles inside a garage.
4) Install a GPS tracking device in your vehicle.
5) Install a steering wheel lock or club (inconvenient, but it deters theft)
6) Install an ignition kill switch. (Check with a professional auto alarm shop)
7) Call police and Delta Five Security if you see individuals wandering around without a clear purpose.
8) See something, say something. Report any suspicious or unusual activity to security and/or police.
9) Do not keep any papers that show your home address inside the car. If the car is stolen away from your home, the thieves may be able to access your home by opening your garage door.
If you are a property manager interested in Security Services please contact, (305) 635-6200.
By Joe Diaz – https://DeltaFiveSecurity.com – May 21, 2019