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Metro victim warns thieves could be hacking into key fobs to break into cars

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Someone broke into Anna Nedeau's car last month in Kansas City's Volker neighborhood.

"My CDs were all over the place, and I was like, 'That's weird,'" she said.

The strangest part, she said her car was locked, then suddenly it wasn't. She's convinced it was the work of hackers.

It's something locksmith Greg Brandt said is entirely possible thanks to modern day key fobs that allow car's owners to unlock doors simply by pulling on the handle with the key nearby. A quick internet search finds plenty of devices for sale on sites like Amazon and Ebay that boost RF signals.

"They basically transmit or amplify that signal to your house. And then they pick up the signal amplified and transmit it back to the car, and they are able to get in the car," Brandt said.

Older-style push button remote key fobs can also be vulnerable, with technology that can be used to intercept the signal, but that has to be done when it's being locked or unlocked.

"I think the technology is absolutely crazy that we have overly complicated our lives with things that are a little bit more convenient that make us a lot more vulnerable," Brandt said.

Nedeau and her neighbors have found a solution they believe is cutting down on thefts from vehicles so far. She and others have started placing key fobs in tin canisters, with the metal acting as a Faraday shield for the radio frequency.

"You just got to kind of learn what's going on and what people are using and do your best defense to it. I'm not going to live in fear," she said.

Pouches advertised as anti-hacking devices are also sold in stores and online to help block hackers from stealing your signal when using your key fob in public places.

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