Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

A recent article in Wired called “Radio Attack Lets Hackers Steal 24 Different Car Models” at talks about how thieves can steal some car models by attacking keyless entry fobs.

It is a very informative article, but they do not talk much about possible solutions. Want to wait around while your automobile manufacturer comes up with a solution?

Our own cars—a 2015 Honda Accord and a manual-everything 2005 Honda Civic—are not on the list of vulnerable vehicles. While the 2005 Honda, which does not have keyless entry, is not susceptible to this type of radio attack, the 2015 Honda Accord might be. Although it was not one of the vehicles listed in the article, it might not have been one of the models tested. I looked at my key fob to see if there was some easy way to shut off keyless entry. Aside from taking out the battery, none was apparent. A switch on the key fob in a location that is not easily turned on or off (maybe inside the battery case) would be a great solution to this problem. Another possible plus? It might make the battery last longer!

When I Googled “2015 Honda Accord turn off keyless entry,” there were not many new solutions. Possible solutions include:

  • Removing the key fob battery. According to a YouTube video by Honda Pro,, the car will not start when the key is not in the car. However, it will still start when the key fob is present even if the battery is inoperative or removed. The key fob also contains a manual key, so entry is still available.
  • Making or buying a faraday cage. There are several types of faraday cages. According to Wikipedia, a faraday cage “is an enclosure used to block electromagnetic fields.” I tried wrapping my key in aluminum foil. Standing next to the 2015 Honda with the key wrapped in aluminum foil, I could still unlock the car. However, while I did not test it, it might limit the accessible distance for the key signal.

I do not like the option of putting my keys in the freezer, which is often touted as an easy faraday cage. For one thing, the moisture and the cold could be hard on the key electronics. Replacing the key is expensive and you would still have the problem with the new key. Another problem with this solution is that it only works when you have access to a refrigerator. Probably would not work at Starbucks! offers Faraday pouches for sale for as little as $9 (plus shipping). There is a DIY faraday cage Instructable at if you would like to make one yourself.

If anyone has other ideas about possible solutions to a keyless entry attack, leave a comment and I will update the article.

Remember, always lock your car, do not leave extra keys in hidden places on the vehicle, and remove or hide your valuables before you leave your car. It is also a good idea to remove your garage door opener from the car, especially if you leave the door between the house and the garage open.

DHS can seize your electronic devices at border

Posted: February 11, 2013 by IntentionalPrivacy in Privacy, Traveling
Tags: , , ,

Read this article at about how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can seize and search your electronic devices at the border without cause. The border as defined by DHS extends 100 miles inland from the physical US border.

How long can they keep your devices? It’s not really defined, although according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), devices are usually return within 5 days.  How long can DHS keep your data and what can they do with it? Again, according to the EFF, procedures are not clear for handling sensitive or confidential data.

If you need to travel with electronics, the EFF has a guide on how to “make your data less vulnerable at the border” at Always make sure that you back up your data before traveling, just in case any of your electronic devices are confiscated, lost, stolen, or damaged.

If you value your privacy, the EFF website is worth reading on a regular basis.

Traveling with electronics

Posted: November 4, 2012 by IntentionalPrivacy in Issues, Traveling

This article in the NY Times talks about why TSA treats laptops differently than smartphones, tablets, and netbooks when you’re going through airport security lines.