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  • Protect your Car Keys with a ‘Faraday Cage’

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    The Motorists Guide

     

     

    So, what is a Faraday Cage? 

     In simple terms, it shields electronic components from static electric fields by using a metal screen that conducts electricity, much like a force-field

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    Historical & Scientific Background

    Michael Faraday, a 19th Century Scientist, who discovered that if you distribute a charge or radiation around the exterior of a cage, it will cancel out electric charges or radiation within the cage interior.

    A Faraday cage is a hollow conductor, in which the charge remains on the external surface of the cage. Some are as simple as chain-link fences and others use a fine metallic mesh. Regardless of their exact appearance, all Faraday cages take electrostatic charges, or even certain types of electromagnetic radiation, and distribute them around the exterior of the cage.

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    Electromagnetic radiation is all around us. But sometimes, this radiation is undesirable and downright disruptive. That's where Faraday cages come in.

    Michael Faraday made the observation that namely, he realised that an electrical conductor (such as a metal cage) when charged, exhibited that charge only on its surface. It had no effect on the interior of the conductor.

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    Typical applications and uses of a Faraday Cage  

    • Microwave Ovens to keep the radiation inside. You can see the cage in the glass door
    • Shielded Rooms and Building, typically Military or Computer Server buildings to avoid interference or surveillance
    • MRI Scanner and other Medical Imaging machines to prevent interference to the images of the patient
    • Power utility workmen have suits that are a Faraday Cage to reduce the risk of electrocution
    • Aircraft fuselage which prevents lightning strikes causing damage to onboard electronic systems and electrocution of the passengers
    • Car bodies and panels act as a Faraday Cage to prevent electronic interference to the onboard electronics

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    So how do I prevent my car from being stolen?

    Car thieves have been using many methods over time to steal cars, anything from a brick through the window and brute force to overcome the steering lock and hotwiring the ignition.

    Nowadays though, the thief is far more technically advanced and tend to use electronics to steal cars with no damage being caused to the vehicle. 

    One such method is the known as the ‘Relay Hack’ which works on vehicles equipped with Keyless Entry systems.
    They accomplish this by boosting the signal between the car and the key over a distance.
    Using a booster to amplify the signal, the car assumes the key is within close proximity and therefore unlocks the vehicle and allows the thief to start it up and drive away…it’s as simple as that!

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    To combat this modern-day method of stealing a car, you would have to place the key place the key in a Faraday Cage, Microwave or even a fridge to stop it from being scanned by radio signals.
    Any Cage would need to have small diameter holes, 
    such as a mesh. Ideally, the Cage could include a lining such as Aluminium to further improve the protection.

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    What products are available to protect my car from thieves? 

    There are many different products available to give you added protection from the thieves that aren’t too expensive. Don’t forget to protect your spare keys as well.
    The Cage is always useful to store Credit Cards, especially those that are contactless and also double up for storage of your mobile phone to avoid radiation being emitted into the body (especially important for Pregnant Women).

    To test that any Cage works efficiently, approach the car (and if the wallet is completely closed) then the car should not be able to be opened. Walk up to the car and try the door handle with the key in the wallet, if it doesn’t open then it the Cage is working correctly.

    BUY YOUR FARADAY POUCH HERE - £5.95 each or £9.95 for two
    (Free Post & Packing to UK)

     

     Additional Reading

    In the UK 85,000 cars have been stolen in 2017 and 70 per cent of the owners of these vehicles still had the key on them
    Read more here

    CAR thieves managed to break into a brand-new £50,000 BMW in less than a minute using a special device bought online
    https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/866987/car-theft-hack-keyless-entry-video-BMW-stolen

    Relay Attacks on Passive Keyless Entry and Start Systems in Modern Cars
    Read more here

    Edited by The Motorists Guide


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