Your Cart

Your Cart is Empty

Key Fob Security: Get to Know Your Key Fob and How to Protect It (and Your Property)

Key fobs are small yet powerful electronic remote keys that allow entry into electronically restricted facilities and devices securely. Learn more about how they work and keep them protected against risks here.

What Is a Key Fob?

A key fob is a small physical device that provides access to a house, building, or car. The key fob is programmable to allow someone entry to authorized areas like buildings. The device in this setup acts as a person’s identification whose access can be activated or deactivated.

Key fobs allow hands-free, keyless entry. The handy device replaces traditional keys to access a matching car or office door, as programmed.

For building managers, office managers, and business owners, implementing a keyless system with fobs is a practical solution for managing and controlling people’s entry into and exit out of their premises.

Car owners use fobs to quickly and conveniently lock and unlock their vehicles without keys and from a distance. They also use the key fobs to start the engine, open the trunk, set off the car alarm, and activate other functions.

How Does a Key Fob Work?

A key fob uses RFID or radio frequency identification technology. RFID refers to a wireless, contactless communication system that uses radio frequencies to track and identify objects with tags attached to them.

It mainly requires two things for an RFID system to work:

  1. The key fob contains a microchip where information like a unique ID is stored and an antenna for receiving and transmitting data. These components comprise the RFID tag, or transponder, that communicates with an RFID reader.
  2. The RFID reader uses radio waves to scan the tag and read its stored information. The scanning device has to be in the same range as the fob to detect it.

How to Classify RFID Systems

By Frequency

RFID tags operate on low, high, or ultra-high frequencies, as governing authorities allow for RFID key fob systems. Look at the band and its corresponding frequency range and wavelength:

  • Low-frequency (LF): 30–300 kHz | 1–10 km
  • High-frequency (HF): 3–30 MHz | 10–100 m
  • Ultra-high frequency (UHF): 300–3,000 MHz | 10–100 cm

NFC or near-field communication is a subset of RFID, specifically HF RFID. NFC systems like payments require you to be close (e.g., 10 cm) for them to work.

Active or Passive RFID Tags

RFID tags are also classified as follows:

  • Passive RFID tag: it has no power source and is energized by a reader that transmits electromagnetic energy.
  • Active RFID tag: it has a power source, usually a battery.

How Does a Keyless Entry System Work?

The key fob is a key piece to a car’s keyless entry system. It usually uses 315 MHz low frequency to communicate with the vehicle. When one pushes a button on their key fob remote control, it transmits a signal to the vehicle to unlock the door.

Keyless entry systems vary by model, with the key fob through the distinct code it sends the vehicle serving as a form of identification instantaneously.

What Does a Key Fob Look Like? (Different Examples of Key Fobs)

A key fob for a car or clicker is one of the most popular. The remote key exists in many iterations and forms, including one with a key inside the fob and a push-button start key fob for a keyless ignition system.

Access key fobs are small devices that let you enter buildings. This is how they work: hold the key fob up close to a reader installed on the electronically powered door to unlock.

Similar to access key fobs are keycards, also credentials for entry to offices and hotels. Tap the card (or in some cases, swipe or insert the card) on the reader. Some access cards double as identification cards with names and photos.

USB flash drives that are set up to secure computer files are also referred to as key fobs. The flash drive and software act as a key to unlock the device and gain access to its contents.

Key fobs, along with key cards, are considered security tokens. These devices utilize RFID, FIDO, USB, Bluetooth, or other technologies to facilitate authorized access or authentication.

What Is a Proximity Key Fob?

A proximity key, or proximity key fob, is primarily used to unlock or lock a vehicle. Even while the fob is inside your pocket or bag, it can communicate with the car’s sensors to allow access as long as it’s within the required proximity. You only need to touch the car’s handle.

Why Do You Use a Key Fob?

Check out these top reasons why key fobs have been widely used and adopted in various settings:

  • Convenience. No physical keys and no worries about forgetting them to gain access to facilities, key fobs exemplify convenient tech. Key cards are also easier to hand out and keep track of than actual keys, and access can be given or revoked anytime.
  • Access Control. Only those issued with access fobs or who have them in their possession at a given time are allowed entry into or use of a property. Access can be specified per user (e.g., building visitors are given temporary passes) to control people’s movements and actions.
  • Security. Fobs, cards, and related keyless systems are ways to impose restrictions on the use of private property. Only you can access your car, or only employees can use office facilities, for example.
  • Automatic identification. A key fob is unique and made to match its owner. Only when the information embedded in the key or a code generated by the fob is confirmed to match will the door unlock. A password or PIN may be needed for further verification and authentication to ensure authorized access.

Where Do You Use a Key Fob?

It’s a small device that has a big impact on everyday life. Key fobs have practical uses almost anywhere, including the following:

  • Cars
  • Computers
  • Homes (i.e., security systems)
  • Apartments, condominiums
  • Offices
  • Hotels
  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Personal or parking garages
  • Schools

Can a Key Fob Be Duplicated?

Yes, key fob and card copying service providers cater to businesses and individuals. You will be asked to show proof that you own the key before any duplication.

The same procedure—showing that you are the owner—also applies to buying replacement car keys and fobs, usually done at dealerships.

Local locksmiths can also offer replacement or duplication services for your keys.

Can a Key Fob Be Hacked?

Yes, car key fobs and other keyless entry systems that rely on proximity are vulnerable to relay theft attacks. With an inexpensive relay box, a thief can access your vehicle in under 30 seconds, allowing your car to be stolen right out of your driveway.

The relay attack is among the many methods hackers use to exploit the keyless entry system’s vulnerabilities. Other examples of how they hack into the system are as follows:

  • Rolljam attack: the signal from the fob is recorded and blocked.
  • Rollback attack: the key fob presses are recorded and then played.

Note that the vulnerability of a car to hacking depends on its model and age (if it’s installed with technologies that may have addressed those flaws).

What Is Key Fob Security?

Key fobs are part of a larger security system. They can be deactivated if lost or misplaced, unlike physical keys. This feature makes them more secure, and the additional security is worth the cost.

These convenient devices, however, carry security risks. They are susceptible to hacking and unauthorized key duplication because gaining access means getting high-value items like cars.

Protecting your key fob and keeping your property and the items inside it safe and secure is imperative.

Key fob security refers to processes or products designed to protect fobs and related devices or lower security risks associated with those kinds of systems.

How Do You Keep Your Key Fob Secure?

GoDark® Faraday bag and Vault help you secure your car and fob effortlessly and prevent unauthorized access with Signal Blocking That Works™.

How Does the GoDark® Vault and Faraday Bag Protect My Car Key Fob?

The GoDark Vault Key Fob Faraday Cage and Faraday bags block all electromagnetic fields (EMF) signals to and from your keyless remote or key fob and prevent unauthorized access to your vehicle through fob relay.

Place your fob in the Vault or Faraday bag, and rest easy knowing your car will still be there when you wake up. Your key fob cage will also help you keep your gadget safe from drop and water damage.

Protect your vehicle with GoDark® Vault and Faraday Bag today. We ship to the US and Canada.