selective focus photo of man in black suit using his phone while leaning beside black car

The Risk Of Digital Keys

With the advent of modern technology, people continually push the boundary of what is considered the norm in pursuit of more convenient methods. Naturally, this fact of life is also applicable to the automotive industry. From automatic windows to key fobs that allow cars to heat up with the push of a button, cars are leaps and bounds of where they were even a decade ago. The latest innovation in the automotive industry involves digital keys, which are becoming increasingly widespread. 

Digital keys allow drivers to access one’s car through their smartphone. By simply whipping out one’s phone, people can unlock doors or turn on the engine if they please. Some manufacturers allow car owners to share their digital key with friends and family members, without ever having to go through the hassle of loaning out keys.

Digital Keys Risk Cyber Attack

However, as convenient as having a digital key sounds, members of the cybersecurity community have pointed out a glaring issue. Many note that by linking a car key to a smartphone, hackers have the opportunity to gain access to one’s vehicle.


Upstream, a cyber security platform for automotive groups, reported that in 2022, “automotive API attacks increased by 380%, accounting for 12% of total incidents, despite OEMs employing advanced IT cybersecurity protections.” 


With cyber attacks in the automotive industry on the rise, the threat of having one’s car hacked into is real. This is especially the case when a car key can be accessed through something that leaves a digital footprint, such as a smartphone.


Furthermore, the risks of having one’s digital key hacked can potentially be more devastating than the problems that arise through a regular break-in. For example, imagine driving on the road, only for your engine to shut off because a hacker happened to access your digital key. While the odds of this happening seem unlikely, the danger is undeniable.

Digital Keys Need Cyber Protection

Technology is a valuable asset to appreciate. However, proper protocol still needs to be inculcated into car manufacturing practices. Just because something can be done, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be done. By allowing an individual the opportunity to access their car keys through their smartphone, cars become susceptible to hacking. From there, hackers can break into the manufacturer’s program, and tamper with an individual’s car — when they might previously not have had the chance to do so. This is especially the case in America, as the Washington Post reports that, “While the United Nations and Europe have pushed cybersecurity rules for vehicles, the United States hasn’t gone as far.”

While digital keys can be incredibly convenient, there are a number of risks one ought to take into consideration before utilizing them. Maybe sometimes, it’s better to stick to the tried-and-true, rather than branching off into something new.

While digital keys are becoming more and more prevalent, car manufacturers still provide car keys for these vehicles, albeit at an exorbitant price. If you would like to stick to a more traditional key, Phoenix EZ-Keys can provide you with a car key or fob at a much more realistic price. If you would like us to make you a new car key, don’t hesitate to book an appointment today!

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