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Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know more about the ID.3 Key Fob Security? The most recent thing I can find online is about the 2019 Passat. it says...

Volkswagen not only have strong all-round security but have also made motion sensor enabled fobs available as standard when buyers opt for keyless entry and start.

Latest Consumer Security Rating issued: Carmakers introduce sleeping fobs to frustrate keyless thieves

Motion sensors inside the fob detect when it has been stationary for a period and trigger a sleep mode. This means the fob will no longer respond to attempts to relay its signal. Full functionality is restored when the owner moves the key.

I think it's extremely unlikely that the new Golf and the ID.3 that have matching keys and came out a year after the Passat test above would not have similar motion protection as VW obviously understand the issue but I can't find anything that confirms it or a Thatcham test.
 

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2015 Golf Match Bluemotion 1.0 TSI
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Hope it has been incorporated now. Seems from the 2019 press that it was achieving widespread adoption.
It was well stupid of car makers not to have done this right from the beginning.
Even my 2012? Harmony multi control remote goes to sleep when not moved.
 

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VW ID.3 1st Edition Manganese Grey - called Heidi Flowerpot
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MY ID.3 key has a little red telltale LED which flashes when you press a button, and then flickers slightly when you're not pressing buttons. If you put the key down and leave it, about a minute later the flickering stops. I think that's the key going to sleep in response to the motion detector.
 

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Mine flickers as you get close, and seems to flicker more/faster as you get closer. (*)
I'm guessing this happens as it talks to more of the receivers dotted around the car.

There is some mention of UWB in this old thread...

(*) Or no flicker at all when the car decides to not listen to one fob or the other, and locks you out for a while. I wonder if the car thinks it is being attacked, and has some kind of temporary blacklist of the fob's Id.
 

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Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here’s a couple of references:


Thanks Scott that seems to confirm that it is at least built to be able to have this more advanced protection way beyond a simple movement sensor. I wonder if is implemented yet?
 

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Thanks Scott that seems to confirm that it is at least built to be able to have this more advanced protection way beyond a simple movement sensor. I wonder if is implemented yet?
I believe it has been from the outset - I've experienced it where the keyless entry doesn't work if I'm not standing by a door and someone else tries to grab the door handle.

If I pressed a button on the fob it would unlock, but the car "knows" that the key isn't in the correct position for keyless entry.
 

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Mine flickers as you get close, and seems to flicker more/faster as you get closer. (*)
I'm guessing this happens as it talks to more of the receivers dotted around the car.

There is some mention of UWB in this old thread...

(*) Or no flicker at all when the car decides to not listen to one fob or the other, and locks you out for a while. I wonder if the car thinks it is being attacked, and has some kind of temporary blacklist of the fob's Id.
I remember that. It's basically flinging around timestamps to estimate position (similar to how GPS works, except I think it was multiple receivers instead of multiple transmitters - either way, it's just measuring small time of flight differences). Assuming they've got their encryption right, easiest way to steal the car is probably just to tow it (you can get away with an awful lot of mischief if you have a hi-viz jacket and a clipboard...). No idea if they actually make it, and encryption is never perfect, but I guess they're banking on the cars being obsolete by the time somebody cracks it, at which point the manufacturers will have moved on to a shiny new encryption scheme that'll need a brand new crack attempt.
 

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Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So is the conclusion of all this that on the ID.3 (and presumably ID.4) with the current capability of the crooks (one step behind) you have no security reason to switch off auto unlock or to have to keep you keys in a tin box in the hallway. Instead you can enjoy those features and sleep soundly without worry.

Excellent is so.
 

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The more recent consensus is that the smart crooks just go to a supermarket car park, wait for you to unlock it, then follow you home... the tin box thing is definitely a 'thing', but as usual, most thiefs have worked out far simpler ways to guarantee they can intercept and know where the car lives!
 

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I think done at Supermarket or wherever similar - because it’s easy to sit and wait without being conspicuous and intercept.

I think if someone wants something they’ll get it, unfortunately.
 

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I hope that recording an intercept will not work, with timestamps included in the encrypted messages.

Looking at the (now slightly dated) ADAC report, the few cars it reports to have secure keyless systems do so because of their UWB tech. If the ID.3 does have the same tech, it seems promising that it would indeed mean there's no need to deactivate it, or use a faraday pouch.
 

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I hope that recording an intercept will not work, with timestamps included in the encrypted messages.
My understanding is the car sends out a timestamped packet, the fob sends it back and multiple receivers in the car pick up the returned packet. That gives time of flight from car to fob then back to multiple sites, so you can measure the difference. If time of flight is too long, it looks the same as being too far away, so a recording shouldn't work. Unless they've really, really, really, messed up how they timestamp the packet....
 

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Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta
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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The more recent consensus is that the smart crooks just go to a supermarket car park, wait for you to unlock it, then follow you home... the tin box thing is definitely a 'thing', but as usual, most thiefs have worked out far simpler ways to guarantee they can intercept and know where the car lives!
No that is the issue that the new system addresses that will no longer work/be possible with the latest system on the ID.3 - the time stamp is not just about it being unlocked hours earlier, it's about milliseconds so it will know if the key is genuinely next to the car or 20 m away and the signal was being relayed.

Additionally If each door handle has a receiver then the time difference that the signal from the key is received in 4 places can be used to even calculate what side of the car the key is and if you are approaching from the rear or the front etc.

Quote from this VW page, Realtime safety with UWB

"The car can also unlock individual doors to suit the position from which the driver approaches the car.

This is how UWB’s theft protection works:

The chips integrated in the car (for example, on all four doors and the trunk) communicate with each other and in addition with other mini transmitters, for example on the car key. The six chips constantly transmit signals back and forth, “talking” to each other. The exact position of the car owner is determined from the time measured when these signals are sent and received – the so-called “Time-of-Flight”. A previous technique of intercepting the radio signal, for the purpose of vehicle theft, is no longer possible."
 

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Which is all well and good, until my passenger also wants to get in the car, but can't because their door is still locked. Then I have to manually press the unlock button to open their door.

I'm sure there's some setting to fix that though...
 

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VW ID.3 1st Edition Manganese Grey - called Heidi Flowerpot
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Which is all well and good, until my passenger also wants to get in the car, but can't because their door is still locked. Then I have to manually press the unlock button to open their door.

I'm sure there's some setting to fix that though...
Yes you can choose that all doors unlock or just the driver's door. I have mine set so that all doors unlock, which preserves domestic harmony, at the expense of the risk of car-jacking.
 

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Yeah, I'm sure I had mine turned on, but just checked and it's off so either I didn't have it on, or it turned itself off.

With the motion sensing fobs, it wouldn't seem to me to be too much more of a risk turning on unlock all doors.
 

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Seat Ibiza- contemplating an ID.3
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Real time 2-way communication from the fob to the car seems like a no-brainer.. but I presume that the tech needed for this previously wasn't small and/or efficient enough to work in a car's key fob. That certainly reassures me with new keyless cars. Although I doubt my 2019 Ibiza has it, so I'll keep leaving the key in a metal bowl!
 
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