AA chief reveals his microwave tip to foil tech-savvy car thieves

AA chief reveals his microwave tip to foil tech-savvy car thieves

After his wife’s Lexus was stolen, Edmund King went the extra mile to ensure his keyless fob was safe

Microwave oven in a kitchen

A metal box inside a microwave is not most people’s idea of a sensible key cupboard, but the AA’s president has revealed it is where he stores his car fob.

Edmund King already used a Faraday pouch – a bag with a metal lining to block signals – to hold his keyless fob but has gone to extra lengths since his wife’s £50,000 Lexus was stolen by hackers.

He told the Telegraph he was so paranoid about the theft being repeated that he put the Faraday pouch inside a metal red box in a microwave at the back of his house. To make doubly sure, he also uses a traditional metal steering wheel lock.

Tech-savvy thieves can relay signals from car fobs kept in the house to hack their way in.

Edmund King of the AA.

King believes the thieves at their Hertfordshire home used even more sophisticated techniques because his wife’s keys were in a Faraday pouch “as far away from the front door as possible, because we knew about scanning and grabbing”.

His theory is that hackers took a signal from his wife’s fob when she parked outside their house at about 6pm and came back later to steal it.

“We think they came back at 11.45pm and used their computer device to unlock the car and remove it with no smashing into the car or anything,” King told the Telegraph. “We didn’t notice it until the next morning, by which time it was probably in a container with its plates changed on its way out of the country.”

Car theft has soared since lockdown lifted, with data from the Metropolitan police showing a 16% rise in the year to June 2022.

Some of this has been attributed to crime gangs using tech kits bought online to relay signals from keyless fobs in people’s homes to unlock their cars.

Most cars that offer keyless entry are in the luxury market, which makes it attractive for thieves to get on top of the technology. Lexus, Land Rover and Mercedes use them, but they are also becoming more common in mid-range cars.

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King wants manufacturers to give drivers the option to disable hi-tech fobs and return to simpler security that is harder to hack.

“Are we that lazy that we cannot press a button on a key fob or turn a key if it protects us?,” he asked.