This modern world is saturated with gadgets that help us carry out our everyday tasks. So much so, that we often don’t realize just how much of our life is powered by the internet, electricity or battery power.
Just think about it, could you complete your day without touching anything remotely technological? You’d have to forfeit your cell phone, alarm clock, microwave oven, the parking sensors in your car… well, actually just the whole car.
It would be a day void of Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, your PlayStation and your electronic toothbrush. A day with no access to filtered water, machine-made coffee or toast. Do you think you could manage it? Probably not.
The chances are that, until now, you hadn’t even realized how heavily you rely upon technology. The only time it truly dawns on us is when things go wrong and you curse that automatic can opener that your sister got you for Christmas and lament about the ‘old days’ when things were much simpler.
That was the exact feeling that people had earlier this year when Facebook was exposed for sharing their user’s data with third-party companies, who then allegedly used the information to influence the 2016 presidential election and other major political events.
But, according to Bill Gates, our reliance on technology is soon about to intensify even further…
It was how people felt when a driverless Uber killed a woman in Arizona, and when Apple admitted that they intentionally slowed down the old models of the iPhone, confirming the suspicions that many customers had had for years. With this in mind, it’s a surprise that anyone still trusts technology.
Then, there is, of course, the issue of electronic key fobs. It’s a little-known problem, but one that could potentially wreak havoc on the life of any ordinary person who possesses a remote control car key.
Yep, seriously. Your key fob could be a victim of cybercrime if you don’t store it correctly in your home. How is that possible? Well, it the simplest terms: Electronic ‘smart’ car keys are laced with codes which enable it to function and connect to your vehicle.
These codes can be easily copied by cybercriminals without them ever having to come into direct contact with your key. Thus, they can steal your vehicle from your driveway without ever having to touch your key.
This is a big business for criminals who can target brand new and often extremely expensive vehicles and make off with them without leaving a trace. Not only that, but brazen criminals can even target your vehicle whilst you are driving it.
The most famous case of this occurred in 2015 when a Jeep Cherokee was overpowered by hackers as it traveled in downtown St. Louis. The vehicle was traveling at 70mph when the incident occurred. Whilst the stunt was staged, to prove just how easy it is to hack a vehicle, it is still a frightening example of how modern day technology can be manipulated and put our lives in danger.
Thus, it’s of paramount importance that you store your ‘smart’ key securely if you value your vehicle. Experts have previously suggested that you place it inside a metal container when you arrive home, to block cybercriminals from accessing the key’s code.
“Cars used to be hot-wired. That used to be common, but was an accepted risk. This will become a new technique used by criminals. How much you are concerned, and what you do about it, is a matter of risk management,” says Clifford Neuman, director of the University of Southern California Center for Computer Systems Security.
Or, for a more simple alternative: wrap your key in aluminum foil. “Although it’s not ideal, it is the most inexpensive way,” explains Holly Hubert, a cybersecurity expert who retired from the FBI in 2017. “The cyber threat is so dynamic and ever-changing, it’s hard for consumers to keep up.”
If you have a few more pennies to spare, and prefer something a little sleeker, then you can also invest in a Faraday bag which shields the fob from any threat. This pouch, which is lined with metal, can be easily inserted into the wearer’s pocket or handbag to ensure the key is safe at all times.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to wrap it up! It’s better to be safe than sorry!