Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics [↗] reveals that three particular property crimes witnessed an increase for the second consecutive year in 2022.
Of these three, motor vehicle thefts accounted for 55,037 incidents last year, up 11 percent. An estimated 232,600 people had something stolen from their vehicle, with 71% of incidents occurring when the owner was at home.
What is a Faraday bag?
A Faraday bag, sometimes known as a Faraday cage or Faraday shield, is a type of enclosure constructed of a mesh of conductive material.
It is designed to block electric fields, including those of radio frequencies.
When an electronic device is placed inside a Faraday bag, it becomes shielded from external radio frequency signals. This means that the device cannot send or receive any wireless signals, including cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS signals.
How is a Faraday bag used?
Faraday bags can be used for a range of reasons. For example, law enforcement and digital forensic experts use them to preserve electronic evidence, ensuring devices are safe from remote interference.
For personal security, individuals might protect credit cards and passports from unauthorised skimming during travel.
Those seeking enhanced privacy might place their phones in these bags to avoid unwanted eavesdropping or data transmission.
How can car theft happen?
Many new cars have keyless entry systems, making them susceptible to relay theft.
The way most keyless systems work is by picking up the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) being emitted by your key fob. These radio signals tell the car you are near or inside the car with the key fob, allowing you to unlock the doors and then start the engine.
Car thieves have caught onto this and are now using devices to amplify or mimic this radio frequency towards another person standing near your vehicle another device.
These devices can pick up your fob signal through the front door in a key bowl or near a window.
The car "thinks" the key fob is nearby due to the relayed signal and allows the thief to unlock the vehicle and if the signal is strong enough, start the engine.
Once the car is unlocked and started, the thieves can drive away, all without the actual key fob leaving the owner's possession.
Do I need a Faraday bag for my keys?
A Faraday bag is designed to immediately interrupt any signal transmission from your key fob and keyless vehicle entry system, ensuring that no one can replicate your key fob signal and access your car.
You can find small pouches and bags from brands like SLNT starting at $32.
Plenty of other retailers offer Faraday bags but as goes with any consumer product they will vary in quality, price and capability. So it's best to read reviews and even test the products yourself by approaching your car with the fob in your bag and see if it remains unresponsive.
Ultimately there are alternative measures you can take like keeping your keys away from windows or by blocking your car in the driveway but if you’re wanting the extra peace of mind then spending the $32 might make sense for you.