We all love to use our keyfobs to open our cars remotely, but security experts say such keyfobs are highly vulnerable to hacking. It looks like car manufacturers will soon resort to using fingerprint technology to grant access to vehicles. You might soon need your fingerprints to gain access to vehicles and even to start the engine.
Godfrey Cheng, corporate vice president for Silicon Valley-based Synaptics said in an interview to Chicago Sun Times that it is quite likely for this technology to be used in cars in the next two to four years. The use of this technology is expected to transform the automotive industry as the use of car fobs now pose more of a security risk. Just as in the case of laptops and mobile phones, automotive manufacturers are likely to switch to the use of vehicle access through the use of personal identification services like retina scanning, fingerprinting and facial recognition.
For those who are currently worried about the security of their vehicle keyfobs, cybersecurity experts recommend that they get a security pouch known as a Faraday Cage whose makers claim that the puch can block all incoming signals. In a pinch, wrapping the keyfob in aluminum foil works.
Cars with keyless start need just the fob signal to unlock the doors. Hackers can use devices which can amplify the signals from unprotected keyfobs and gain access to your vehicles. They can even just copy the code and get access to your vehicle.
Currently, if you are carelessly carrying your keyfob around in your pocket or purse, hackers can capture fob signals from outside a home, office or hotel room.
This will change in the near future, when keyfobs will be paired with biometrics like facial recognition, fingerprinting and retina scanning.
Synaptics is already known for its work related to consumer technology products like smart speakers that are used in tandem with Google and Amazon’s Alexa.
Recently, Synaptics developed technology that makes it possible for motorists to adjust the heat dial on touch screens in cold conditions without removing thick gloves. Sone of the company’s major automotive clients include Audi, BMW, Ford, Honda, Porsche, Jaguar, Mercedes-Banz, Range Rover and Volkswagen.
The company has already made a prototype SUV that had been modified to permit access with just a fingerprint. Cheng took a photo of a would-be driver’s face with a computer notebook, scanned the driver’s fingerprint into the notebook and downloaded the biometric data into the SUV system. He then programmed the car to accept the driver’s fingerprint. The driver just had to press a fingerprint sensor on the dashboard to start the engine.
Using this kind of biometric program, vehicle owners can program the car to match the fingerprint — with their selected music choices, seat adjustment, navigation settings, and temperature selection. Parents can use this feature to install “geofencing” limits, to minimize any fears they have about their children who are novice drivers. Secure biometric authentication eliminates the need for drivers to remember passwords and pins.
Synaptics is not the only player in this field. Tamara Snow, director of interior systems and technology for North America within Continental said that biometric authentication could be in place with some products as soon as 2019.
Hamid Moaref has always been fascinated by cars and the automotive industry. His family has a longstanding association with the industry and has been in the tire business for the past 35 years. Raised in Dubai, Hamid attended Capilano University in Vancouver where he graduated with a BBA in marketing before attending an intensive course in magazine publishing in 2005. He has been the publisher and chief editor of Tires & Parts magazine for the past ten years.
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