Tesla is working on new keychain with automatic unlocking ‘immune to relay attacks’



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Tesla is working on a new key fob with automatic unlocking and power supply based on new UWB technology that is “immune to relay attacks”.

Tesla and relay attacks

Tesla vehicle thefts are quite rare in North America, but in Europe there are more sophisticated thieves who have handled a series of Tesla vehicle thefts through relay attacks, and most vehicles have not. been recovered.

A relay attack typically involves using a device that relays the signal from a nearby key fob in order to unlock a vehicle.

In response to these attacks, Tesla began deploying additional layers of security with an “enhanced cryptography” key fob and an optional “PIN to Drive” feature.

Tesla has since worked to improve its security – even through software updates at the fob level.

Tesla is now embracing UWB

Now Tesla is looking to add another layer of security.

According to a new filing with the FCC, Tesla incorporates a unique new Impulse “Radio Ultra Wideband” (IR-UWB) chip, better known as UWB, inside its new keychain.

Tesla wrote in the new FCC filing:

The main purpose of a UWB telemetry device is to provide a distance estimate, which serves as a narrow upper limit for the actual distance between a transmitter and a receiver. In other words, the distance estimate is close to the actual distance and may be longer than the actual distance, but not shorter. In the PKE context, this means that the key is no further from the car than the estimated distance. The distance estimate is based on a time-of-flight measurement and is immune to relay attacks. This greatly improves the security of the PHY layer over RSSI-based distance measurement, which is susceptible to attacks from relay stations.

A UWB receiver can give an accurate estimate of the distance, when there is a line-of-sight (LOS) propagation path between the transmitter and the receiver. All other propagation paths are caused by reflections, therefore have a longer flight time and will lead to a looser upper limit for the distance.

Here’s Tesla’s new repository in its entirety:

This new technology is said to be tied to a new key fob, but several phone makers are adopting it as well, which means it could be implemented on Tesla’s phone key function.

As we reported last week, Tesla is making its phone app the master key for Models S and X with the updated new design, and the app is already the master key for Models 3 and Y.

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