Digital keys are being developed for smartphones by a consortium making up 70% of the automotive industry, with keys – as we know them – phased out

Digital keys stored on smartphones could replace easier-to-hack traditional car keys, as automotive cybersecurity is ramped up amid advances in technology. 

A group of companies accounting for 70% of the world’s car industry, including Audi, BMW, Honda, Toyota, General Motors, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, PSA Group and Volkswagen, as well as 60% of the smart device market, including Alpine, Apple, LG, Panasonic and Samsung, have formed the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and revealed how the tech would work. 

The digital keys will use the same tech as that in contactless payments via smartphones and is harder to hack than the current signal tech used in car keys. 

These keys can lock and unlock cars, as well as engage with vehicles fitted with push-button start without the need of a fob. The CCC aims to standardise the tech, allowing it to be adopted across the industry. 

Car-sharing schemes are of particular importance as the industry moves away from traditional ownership. Shared cars, car subscription services and other mobility schemes are predicted to dominate sales in the long run. Volvo, for example, aims for 50% of its sales to be subscription-based by 2025.

The CCC has five objectives for the digital keys in relation to security: 

  • Trustworthiness: potential thieves cannot create false signals to the car
  • Completeness: thieves cannot tamper with messages by removing them or parts of them
  • Freshness: thieves cannot replicate old messages
  • Binding: thieves cannot pretend to be previous users
  • Independence: the messages are unrelated to anything else but their intended purpose.

With similar devices being investigated by some manufacturers already, the tech is expected to land before the end of the decade. 

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Comments
11

26 June 2018

 I’m sure BMW have in within an App?, I could be wrong, but I’ve read it somewhere....?

Peter Cavellini.

26 June 2018

Haven't Tesla made keys optional for some time already? If so why wasn't it mentioned in the article? Oh yes they spend enoungh on advertising

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

289

26 June 2018

I dont carry my phone around with me all the time like some bizarre form of comfort blamket, nor do I intend to.....how would I get into the car without a key?

26 June 2018

You do not represent any future demographic for this project. You are classed as defunct!

26 June 2018

third paragraph.

26 June 2018

I think the tech would work, the problem is how people use their phones. Smartphones are already way too 'precious' and expensive, adding an additional layer of responsibility and requirement is not something I necessarily want to happen.


26 June 2018

What happens if you drop your phone and smash it?  You can't get in your car or even get a Uber home....

 

 

 

26 June 2018

The term "Phone"  is replaced in the higher echelons of technology, and is referred to as a DCAT (Device for Consumer Algorithmic Tracking).

George Orwell showed us how and when.

 

26 June 2018

Stupid idea. The most secure system is an old fashioned key. 

What happens if I lose my phone? Battery goes dead? Bloody stupid idea this. 

26 June 2018

I use my key to lock the house, then walk a few yards to the car and open it with the key. I do hve my phone in my pocket, but as that phone will not lock the house, this idea is pointless.

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