New Security Concerns Regarding Push-to-Start Systems

Earlier this month, USA Today released a story which claimed that keeping your push-to-start fob inside of a refrigerator or freezer when you vehicle is not in use can actually make your vehicle more secure. Most people would scoff at this advise, however there is some truth to the statement. However, to understand how a refrigerator or freezer can keep your vehicle more secure, you must take a look at the security system involved with a push-to-start vehicle.

Push-to-Start Security System

In a vehicle with a push-to-start system car owners are able to open their doors and start the car without having to use a key blade. This offers a great deal of convenience to the vehicle owner, however it can also help a thief to steal that same vehicle. The push-to-start fob for one of these vehicles must be able to communicate with the signal that is emanating from the car’s computer. Generally the range of this signal is just a few inches. This would mean that whoever was accessing the vehicle would likely need to have the fob in their hand or pocket in order to gain access. Unfortunately thieves are finding ways to increase the signal strength coming from the car’s computer.

As reported by USA Today, thieves can purchase a power amplifier for less than $20 online. This power amplifier can take the few inches of signal provided by the vehicle’s computer and send that signal to a length of 100 meters. If a thief was using a power amplifier, this would mean that your fob could be safe in your home, but still close enough to the vehicle to allow a thief to take control. So the question is; where do refrigerators and freezers come into play?

View below as two thieves use a power amplifier to gain entry to a vehicle parked in a driveway.


Possible Security Precautions

Due to the metal frame of a refrigerator, signal from the car’s computer would be blocked. This would mean that no matter how strongly the signal is amplified, thieves will not be able to get into your vehicle. However, in offering this advice USA Today looked past one crucial bit of information. The cold of a refrigerator will drain the battery inside of your car fob resulting in the need for a new battery earlier than expected. Phila-Locksmith recommends that to protect your push-to-start vehicle from break-in to wrap your fob in aluminum foil. By wrapping your fob in aluminum foil while it is not in use you are able to prevent against this break-in threat while also maintaining the longest battery life possible.

Now that vehicle manufacturers are aware of this security loophole it will be interesting to see how they will respond. Automotive thieves are constantly trying to get a leg-up on manufacturers which seems to now be happening with push-to-start systems. No matter what car manufacturers do, it seems that thieves will have their own strategies for compromising security not long after the security’s introduction to the market.

This blog post had been provided by Phila-Locksmith for the benefit of our customers, as well as the residents of the Delaware Valley. The Delaware Valley can turn to Phila-Locksmith whenever they may need a car locksmith to provide them with service for a push-to-start vehicle. With all of the tools and training necessary to provide you with service on these systems, Phila-Locksmith is the one company to choose for your vehicle.

Allentown Police Save Unattended Child

(VIA The Morning Call) – A topic which we have covered on our blog numerous times is the danger of leaving a child unattended in a hot vehicle. However, leaving a child unattended in a vehicle at any point is an unwise decision which can have disastrous consequences. Yesterday, February 25th, in Allentown a woman left her one year old child unattended in her mini-van. At the time that the child was found temperatures outside were at about 20 degrees with a wind chill of less than 10 degrees. A passing parking officer was able to spot the child and called police.

Shortly after discovering the child, Allentown police were able to locate the child’s mother at a barbershop nearby. The 23 year-old mother had taken her 3 year old child to have his hair cut while the one year-old was left unattended in the mini van. Witnesses who spoke with police said that they had seen the mother checking on the vehicle around 1:50 PM. This was over a half hour before the police were able to get on scene and remove the child from the vehicle. When police did removed the child, they found that the child did not even have a blanket while seated in the car. The mother was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child before being released on $500 bail.

vehicular heat stroke

Vehicular heat stroke is much more common when children are locked in a vehicle, but the cold also presents a very dangerous situations.

Time and time again, we have warned parents about the dangers of leaving their children unattended in vehicles, especially during extreme weather. Not only could your child be in danger due to the weather, but automotive theft as well. If you, at any point, lock your child, or children, inside of the vehicle on accident call the police immediately. After ensuring the police are on the way, you can also make a call to our Allentown locksmith to see if he is in the area to provide you with assistance. No matter the time of year, day or the weather, it is never a wise idea to leave your child unattended in a vehicle. Even if it is only for a matter of minutes, the results can be catastrophic.

Valet Key More Important Than Ever

Valet keys have been a way for car owners to ensure the security of their vehicle for a long time. However, with the introduction of technology which has made it easier than ever to copy keys having a valet key for your car is more important than ever. If you use a valet to park your vehicle, you are trusting that individual not only with an expensive piece of equipment, but also the security of your home, and possibly business as well. This is why Phila-Locksmith highly recommends that you only use a valet service if you have a valet key to provide for them.

Automotive Security Concerns

Online key duplication has become a security concern for some individuals. While the security risk is minimal in many circumstances, valet service is one of the scenarios where the risk to automotive security can be very real. If you do not have a transponder car key for your vehicle, using a valet service can pose a serious security concern. Using a key duplication smart phone application anyone with access to your key would be able to take a picture of the key and have a duplicate mailed to their address. If you do have a transponder car key system on your vehicle, then using a valet key can decrease the risk to your automotive security.

Home and Business Security Concerns

By using a valet key you can prevent anyone who will have access to your vehicle from also having access to the other keys on your key ring. Especially through the use of an online key duplication service, your home or business key could be copied. Since the thief would also have access to your GPS, you can easily be accurately targeted by thieves. With just a few clicks on their smartphone and your GPS, that valet could have a copy of your key and an exact address of where to use that key. It is for this reason that even if you do not use a valet key, to ensure that you remove the rest of your keys from the ring when handing your keys over to the valet.

Valets have been around for a long time and are certainly popular in center city Philadelphia, but advances in technology have left concerns about the level of security that you have when leaving your keys with one of the attendants. This is why it is wise to take security precautions before handing the key ring over to your valet attendant. Be sure to have a valet key to provide to that individual, if not; remove the rest of your keys from the key ring so that an online duplication service can not be used to make a copy of your existing keys. As always, Phila-Locksmith will continue to update you with latest security concerns regarding your keys and locks. It is important to stay, reasonably, concerned with smart technology in regards to security. If you are unsure about how smart technology could affect your security speak directly with a professional like the technicians at Phila-Locksmith.

51 Death Claims as GM Recall Deadline Passes

This past Saturday the deadline to file a claim with General Motors’ recall fund for any individual or family who sustained injuries caused by General Motors’ defective ignition switch. January 31st was the date that individuals had to file a claim as over 4,000 individuals had already done. So far General Motors has allocated $400 million dollars to pay customer claims which vary in the severity of injury which they have suffered. Over 300 of these claims involve the death of an individual involved in a car crash which included one of the recalled vehicles. Phila-Locksmith has been covering the General Motors recall to inform our customers of recalls that may effect their vehicle and to examine the impact that this large of a recall could have on the automotive manufacturing industry as a whole.

900,000 Effected General Motors Vehicles Still on Road

One of the most surprising bits of information which has come to light is that there are still 900,000 recalled vehicles still on the road which have not had the appropriate repairs. The initial recall stems from the ignition switch in many General Motors models. The ignition switch used in these vehicles is too small which can result in the key slipping from the ‘on’ position in the ignition. When this occurs all power steering, power breaking and airbags all will not function. This causes an obvious danger to drivers as well as others on the road, which makes it surprising that about 40% of the recalled vehicles have yet to receive the repairs that they need. General Motors attempted to entice customers to come to their repair shops by offering a $25 gift card if you had brought your recalled vehicle in for repair during the month of December.

general motors recall

900,000 recalled General Motors vehicles have yet to receive repairs.

General Motors received a total of 4,180 claims as a result of this massive recall. Of those 4,180 about 3,000 were dismissed because they lacked evidence or were submitted with no evidence at all. So far 121 claims have been deemed eligible including 13 incident which involved fatalities. The remaining claims which have not been deemed eligible, or dismissed, are still being reviewed by the third party group which General Motors has assigned to the task. Claims that are still being reviewed could take as long as months to hear whether or not they are eligible for the recall fund. During the countdown to the January 31st deadline multiple members of congress requested that General Motors extend their deadline for claims to be submitted. This request was rejected since General Motors had already delayed the deadline previously to arrive at the January 31st deadline.

While the deadline to file a claim with General Motors’ recall fund has passed, car owners need to have their effected vehicles repaired. With 900,000 vehicles still on the road without necessary repairs, car owners are not only putting themselves in danger, but also putting other motorists in danger as well. This recall has had an effect on the way that General Motors is looking to construct their ignition systems in newer model vehicles. Due to the issues that can arise from a traditional bladed key system, General Motors is looking to shift all of their newly manufactured vehicles to a keyless ignition system. The thought being, that this will eliminate the type of problem that caused this recall.

Thieves Thwarted During Break-In at Locksmith Shop

In Evesham, England, some thieves attempted to break-in to the wrong type of business just weeks ago. During the early morning hours of January 14th, closed circuit television cameras on Amber Locks, a local locksmith company located in the area, picked up two thieves attempting to break-in to the business. Apparently, it did not occur to these thieves that a business which specializes in assisting with residential and commercial security may have solid security of their own to prevent thefts. After multiple failed attempts to break-in the thieves wound up leaving the location. The owner of the business has released the closed circuit television images and is looking for people to help bring these criminals to justice.

Importance of Commercial Security

At Phila-Locksmith we stress the need to have effective commercial security that is tailored to your exact needs. The reason for this is evident in this attempted break-in. Had the thieves been able to get inside of the locksmith shop, the business would have been ransacked. This would have left the owner of the business unable to complete his normal operations due to missing parts and machines. This would be in addition to any damage which would have to be repaired.Fortunately in this situation, Amber Locks had commercial security that was up to the test of these two thieves. The owner of Amber Locks said, “Whoever broke in damaged the door as they tried to get in, but we are locksmiths so, of course, we have very strong locks“. Strong locks are likely only part of what helped to drive the thieves away. As locksmiths the company was able to professionally install their own locks which were at a security grade which would be effective against such tactics. This thinking should be part of every commercial security plan. It is crucial to prepare your business properly for the threats that it may face to ensure the continued function of your business.

commercial break in

Above is a closed circuit security camera image of the attempted thieves.

In this case it was fortunate that the locksmith was able to prepare his security so that this theft was prevented from interrupting their normal business operation. While the owner claims that repairs to the door will cost about $100, that is a drop in the bucket compared to the loss of business and property that would have occurred if these thieves were able to get inside of the business. Local business in Evesham should be more likely to turn to the security services that Amber Locks has to offer after this effective demonstration of the commercial security that they are able to offer. Just like Amber Locks, Phila-Locksmith is helping business owners in the Philadelphia tri-state area to achieve the level of commercial security that they desire for their business. Contact us today to discuss the needs and options of your business directly with our technician. He is able to provide you with a free consultation that will help to identify weaknesses and strengths in your commercial security.

More Police Refusing to Provide Free Unlocks

In a move which is becoming more and more common among local police forces, a police department in Brandon, Mississippi, is warning residents that they will no longer be able to offer free unlocking service if you have locked your keys in the car. This move comes due to liability concerns that police departments have, now that automotive security has become more sophisticated in many model vehicles. Previously, many small police forces would offer these emergency unlocks as a service to the community, but this has become impossible for them to do with any regularity due to the new sophisticated systems in many new cars on the road.

Automotive Security Improvements

Here on our blog, Phila-Locksmith has detailed the automotive security changes which many major car manufacturers are undergoing. Initially the transponder car key systems did not cause a problem for police officers looking to help a citizen out. Early transponder chip car keys only effected the ignition’s function. Since the transponder car key still functioned the same way that a traditional car key would have with respect to the door lock. This allowed for police forces to continue offering free unlocking, if they had the available resources. Now there are even more changes in automotive security and safety which has made it impossible to offer unlocking service on a regular basis without having professional experience.

police unlock

No More Free Police Unlocks

Some of the advancements which have left these police forces unable to provide emergency unlocking include side airbags, thinner windows and enhanced door construction. Police offers are not professionally trained locksmiths so they simply do not know how to open more advanced car doors without causing damage to the vehicle. Since police officers have much more pressing issues to get to, it would be a waste of time for a department to dispatch an officer to assist especially give that they may not even be able to get the vehicle open. The recommended step to take to ensure that you are never left locked out of your vehicle is to find a 24 hour locksmith who you can trust and save their information to your phone. Phila-Locksmith has detailed some easy tips that will help you to find a locksmith who you can trust and will be able to turn to whenever you are in need of assistance.

The only time that one should call the police when they are locked out of their vehicle is if there is a child or animal locked in the vehicle. Many police departments will only even dispatch a police officer to unlock the door for an animal if the pet is in imminent danger. For now, you will have to make the call to your local locksmith if you find yourself locked out of your vehicle. Phila-Locksmith recommends calling multiple locksmiths before you find yourself in need of their services. This allows you to ask applicable questions and get comfortable with the company that you will be using. In the Philadelphia tri-state area, give Phila-Locksmith a call and trust your emergency unlock service to our professional technician.

Secure Your Home in the New Year

With two weeks of the New Year already behind us, many people are already beginning to wilt on their newly made New Year’s resolutions. One resolution, which is easily to make and keep, is to upgrade the existing security that your home has. Through just a small amount of investment, you can make your home much more secure than it had previously been. Our Philadelphia locksmiths have gathered a small list of recommendations which can help you to complete one resolution which pays dividends throughout the rest of the year. Even if you may not be able to complete your more difficult New Year’s resolution, increasing the security at your home is one easy resolution which Phila-Locksmith can assist you with entirely.

1. Have a Deadbolt Installed

It is highly recommended to have a deadbolt installed on, at least, all of your exterior door ways. A traditional knob lock is much more susceptible to break-in strategies than a deadbolt lock is. One common break-in technique which thieves use to disable a knob lock is show below. “Credit carding” is when a thief inserts a flat and rigid surface, sometimes a credit card, into the space between your door and door frame.

There are a number of deadbolt models which are available on the residential market today with varying features. Some are more traditional versions of a high security lock, while others employ smart technology in their function. It would behoove customers to speak with a professional or to complete research before choosing the deadbolt lock that they would like installed.

2. Re-key Your Existing Locks

Re-keying is a service that we already recommend whenever you move into a new home or apartment, but regularly re-keying your locks can also help to prevent your keys from falling into the wrong hands. Whether it is through lost or stolen keys, in addition to new technology which raises safety concerns, your keys can easily fall into the wrong hands. Having a re-key completed helps to make your home secure once again, but without the higher cost which would result from having an entirely new residential lock set installed. A locksmith can even key your locks alike so that you can conveniently open every lock with just one key.

3. Safe Installation

There are a number of reasons for a residential safe and the New Year is the perfect time to invest. A gun safe is highly recommended for any individual who owns a firearm. Not only does a gun safe help to keep your firearm secure from thieves, but also from young children. If you do not own a firearm, then investing in a residential safe can help you to keep even the smallest valuables in your home secure. Not only can a residential safe be used to protect valuables and jewelry during a break-in, but having a fire resistant safe can also help to keep your valuable documents and personal information safe from destruction. Based on the security needs of your home, there can be a number of safes that would best fit your needs. It is recommended to decide exactly which features are most important for your use before deciding to invest in a particular safe model.

Above are three of the simplest things that you can do to have a successful security resolution. There are a number of other lock and key services which can help you to increase your home security, but choosing those services would be based on the specific needs of you or your home. By contacting your local locksmith you can successfully complete a New Year’s resolution without much hard-work on your end while still achieving a calming peace of mind throughout the rest of 2015.

From Keyless Ignitions to Digital Smart Keys?

At the end of 2014, we covered the move that General Motors was making towards the implementation of keyless ignitions in a majority of the vehicle models that they make. This signaled the beginning of what could be a slow death of traditional bladed car keys, but a Toronto company wants to take this idea a step further. The Globe and Mail in Canada has the scoop on Keyfree technologies, a start up which is aiming to revolutionize the car key game even further than the introduction of keyless ignition systems would.

Smart Phones as Car Keys

Keyfree’s aim is extremely similar to what August and Lockitron want to accomplish with their smart technology enabled residential locks. Users would be able to install the device on their vehicle and then operate that vehicle through an application on their smart phone. Not only would this allow for the car owner to start the vehicle while they were in the car, but also remotely. In addition to remote function, car owners would be able to send, and remove, key access to other smart phones in just a matter of moments.

While sending access via smart phone will certainly lead to some security concerns fro car owners, Keyfree is angling, at least initially, to dealerships and rental car companies. Without having to constantly grab keys, or have copies made, these types of businesses could certainly benefit from the convenience that Keyfree is offering. However, these initial security concerns are certainly not to be taken lightly. Residential locks faced heavy scrutiny due to safety concerns when they originally hit the market and the scrutiny is sure to be stronger for Keyfree due to the ability for criminals to easily vanish with a vehicle once they have access. One way to alleviate this concern is the additional GPS tracking feature which Keyfree uses. Using the GPS feature car owners would not only give police vital information if their car was stolen, but can also be used in everyday situations, like finding your car when you have forgotten where you parked. You can view Keyfree’s informational video below to see some of the features that they are eager to offer.

It will be interesting to see how the retail market will react to the introduction of Keyfree’s product, but the features they offer certainly fall in line with the technical advancements which are expected to come to the security market in the next few years. The introduction of this product will also make for an interesting dynamic in the development of keyless ignitions and their fobs. Will major automotive manufacturers continue to make a slow change over to keyless ignitions before making the leap to smart keys? Or, will they seize this new technology and take their vehicles further down the path of technical advancement? Stay tuned to Phila-Locksmith’s blog posts to get updated information, or voice your opinion in the comments below. Would you feel secure using your smart phone as a key for your car or do the security concerns scare you away? Major automotive manufacturers will have to make that choice soon as technology like this continues to find its way into more and more vehicles.

Reasons to Invest in a Safe

Safes help to offer security for even the smallest items which may be at your home and business. By having a safe installed you can rest easy knowing that your most valuable possessions will not be able to be stolen. Based on the needs of your home or business, as well as the valuables that you are trying to protect, there are a number of safe types that you are able to invest in. Not only can a safe help to keep your valuables secure, but can also help to avoid having those same valuables used against you in a break-in. Below we have listed some of the top reasons to have a safe installed at your home or business.

1. You Own a Firearm

If you are the owner of a gun, it is highly recommended to invest in some type of a gun safe. Gun safes can come in various sizes based on the weapon that they are storing and the intended use of the safe. By having your weapon securely tucked away, you can eliminate the possibility that someone is able to steal your weapon, or use it against you during a break-in. Equally as important, a gun safe allows for you to secure your firearm from any children that may be in your home and prevents any accidents from occurring.

2. Security and Accessibility

A safety deposit box at a bank is a secure way to protect your most valuable items, but it also limits the amount of accessibility that you have. By having a safe installed at your own home, you get a high amount of security while also being able to access your own personal items. With a safety deposit box you have to work with the bank’s own restricted hours, by purchasing your own personal safe you can avoid this type of restriction.

3. Document Preservation

Fire resistant safes are another wise investment for home and business owners. You never know when disaster can strike, but by choosing a fire resistant safe before anything occurs you can help to preserve your most important documents. This includes your birth certificate, social security card and other important commercial documents, which may be difficult to replace.

safes

4. Large Amount of Cash Transactions

If you are a business owner who completes many transactions in cash, it is highly recommended to have a safe installed at your commercial location. Criminals are smart, and they may target your business specifically if they know that a large amount of cash transaction take place. By having a safe installed at your commercial location you can ensure that your money is safe even when you are not at the location.

While these are some of the most popular reasons to purchase a safe, there are many other reasons that one would want to take advantage of the security that a safe has to offer. For both business and home owners, a safe installation is a wise idea if you are serious about keeping the valuables at your business completely secure. With so many options available, it may be a good idea to seek professional help with the selection of your safe model. Phila-Locksmith’s safe specialist is happy to assist you with this information. Call us today and he will be happy to discuss the options that would work best for your needs and location.

Keyless Ignitions – The Future is Now

It has been speculated by many in the automotive industry that the clock is ticking on the use of standard cut key blades for operating vehicles. Not only are their security concerns which could be alleviated by switching to keyless ignition systems, but also safety concerns which could be eliminated. It what is a signal that this industry change may be coming faster than expected, General Motors is telling dealerships to replace the key systems on their 2014 and 2015 models for many larger vehicles which include the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Sierra. The reason for this is the concern that the key can become knocked out of position when attempting to shift gears. This is reminiscent of the problem which resulted in the recall of millions of General Motors vehicles this past year.

Security Concerns

One of the benefits that many manufacturers can have by switching their vehicles to keyless ignition systems is an added amount of security. Transponder car keys have certainly helped to reduce the amount of automotive thefts that have taken place, but it only stands to be a matter of time before thieves are able to find new methods to disable transponder car key systems. As more thieves are able to become familiar with the technical workings of transponder car keys it is possible that they find easier ways to duplicate the programming found in transponder car keys. By removing the keyed blade, auto manufacturers can rely solely on improved keyless ignition technology to keep customer’s vehicles security.

keyless ignition

A simple button push can start your vehicle and provide safety in many new model vehicles.

Increased Safety

As demonstrated in the General Motors vehicles which needed to be recalled throughout the year, there certainly are safety concerns that can arise from the use of traditional blade keys. With minor wear and tear, or because of part failure, the key can be turned from the on position while an individual is driving the car. This can cause for the loss of power steering and brakes, which is obviously dangerous especially if you are on the highway. While the key slipping from the position is unlikely to happen, the possibility still remains. By using a keyless ignition fob there is no wear and tear which results from the repeated use of the ignition. This eliminates the possibility that the car can be moved from the open position while the owner is driving.

The added benefit of security does come at a cost. Having to get your keyless ignition fob replaced can be an expensive undertaking, so keeping your fobs secure and handy is a definite need. You can receive a replacement bladed car key much easier, and much cheaper, than you are able to have a replacement keyless ignition fob replaced. Despite this extra cost in the case that you have lost your fobs, keyless ignitions will almost certainly become standard on new vehicles in the near future. Their combination of safety and security allow for the most carefree driving experience possible. Following the recalls that the manufacturer had to deal with this year, General Motors seems poised to be a leader in the implementation of keyless ignition systems going forward.

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