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Finnish police: Keep your car keys in the fridge

'Smart' car keys could be a security risk and should be kept in the fridge to prevent hackers breaking into cars, according to Finnish police.

Auton avaimia korissa.
'Smart' car keys should be kept in the fridge, say some experts. Image: Katja Oittinen / Yle

If there's a car in your yard that has automatic, so-called 'smart' keys, you should consider keeping the keys in the fridge. That's the message from Finnish police, who say that high-tech criminals could hack cars with such systems.

"It sounds strange, but it makes sense," said Jari Tiiainen of the National Bureau of Investigation.

These so-called smart keys work by emitting a signal when the driver touches the door handle. The lock opens when it recognises the key's signal. Criminals have technology that can strengthen that signal even from a hundred metres away—well inside the residential property where most owners keep their keys, according to Eero Heino of the If insurance company.

Fridges block that signal, hence the advice from police.

"We haven't recommended fridges, but foil will do the same job," said Heino.

Some key batteries can be damaged if they are kept at low temperatures, so it's good to check the manual before starting a cold-storage routine.

There hasn't yet been a smart key-related car theft in Finland, but it is more common in continental Europe and the United States. The nearest case was in Sweden, according to Tiainen.

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