Car theft has gone high-tech recently. Hackers and thieves have found ways to intercept signals between car keys, or fobs, and modern security systems to break into cars and steal them. Owners can take precautionary steps, like putting fobs in Faraday pouches to stop “tech-savvy” thieves, as the Guardian reports. But precaution can turn to paranoia, and a sign of that happening is when the microwave looks like a hacker-proof safe instead of an appliance.
That paranoia led Edmund King, the president of the AA — once known as the Automobile Association — to extremes after his wife’s Lexus was stolen; King told the Guardian his wife’s key fob was in a Faraday pouch when it was stolen.
So, King started putting his car keys in a Faraday pouch, then placing the pouch inside a metal box, and, finally, putting the metal box in the microwave — like a metal-lined nesting doll to foil car thieves. And to be safe, the AA chief also uses a good, old-fashioned steering wheel lock.
King’s makeshift microwave vault sounded like a good idea to one person, at least. But putting car keys in the microwave backfired for the parents of one reader who wrote to the Guardian five days after the King report, saying:
Hiding car keys in the microwave doesn’t always work (AA chief reveals his microwave tip to foil tech-savvy car thieves, 5 August). My father did this until my mother heated milk for coffee without first checking that the microwave was empty. The key fob was destroyed and the microwave badly damaged.
While the unfortunate milk and melted car key incident doesn’t disprove King’s theory about the microwave stopping car hackers and thieves, it does show that a microwave oven isn’t the best place to store a plastic fob with a metal key and electronic components inside.
It technically worked; the car can’t be stolen by thieves now, since there’s no key codes to relay and intercept, but the car can’t be driven by the owner, either. Well, it could as long as there’s a spare key or fob, but that puts us back at the beginning minus one fob. All I’m saying is don’t put your car keys in the microwave. If you’re that worried about car thieves, put your keys in the freezer. Or maybe also try the steering wheel lock; King was a little closer with that one.