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Security Question

kunal

Member
Mar 18, 2013
60
1
Bellevue, WA
Hey all, I just picked up my Model S Performance almost 2 weeks ago (and nearly 1000 miles). I have a few concerns and maybe someone could help me out.

My biggest concern is security. This happened to me with my cousin the other day, I walked up to the car and all my cousins wanted to check it out. They all got in and I stood outside (with the key in my pocket). They started driving the car around the neighborhood without the key. What is to prevent someone to jump in your car when the key is close by and they just drive off? I know you can track the car with the Apps, but still seems like they could damage the car. My mom's Audi A6 has the remote key, but if the key is outside the car the car will not start.

Another question I have is with the brakes. Are others brakes squeaking? My brakes squeak pretty loud.

Thanks,
Kunal
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,867
Toronto, ON
Another question I have is with the brakes. Are others brakes squeaking? My brakes squeak pretty loud.l

I did have squeaking brakes at first, but it seems to have subsided. I was initially thinking that with such strong regenerative braking, the regular friction brakes weren't getting enough use to clean any rust that might form on the rotors. (It was very wet the first week I had the car).
 

kunal

Member
Mar 18, 2013
60
1
Bellevue, WA
I did have squeaking brakes at first, but it seems to have subsided. I was initially thinking that with such strong regenerative braking, the regular friction brakes weren't getting enough use to clean any rust that might form on the rotors. (It was very wet the first week I had the car).

That's what I was thinking as well. Maybe I need to slam on the brakes a few times!
 

huntjo

Member
Aug 3, 2012
542
0
Fort Collins, Colorado
Actually several people have suggested a few "hard stops" to clean the friction brakes off. It seemed to work for me, though I do not pretend to understand exactly what I "cleaned off".

Re: the security, the normal behavior should make it un-drivable with the fob outside the car, ergo you should report your cars behavior to service as an anomaly that needs fixing.
 

SuperCoug

Model S Res #7734
Mar 16, 2012
225
0
Bothell, WA
Re: the security, the normal behavior should make it un-drivable with the fob outside the car, ergo you should report your cars behavior to service as an anomaly that needs fixing.

I don't think this is true. Others have reported this same thing. In fact, somebody said they had the key on a hook a few feet from the car on the wall of the garage and he could jump in and drive off. He realized that if he ever forgot to grab his keys then it would be REALLY BAD because the car would shut down as soon as he hopped out at his destination (and he would no longer be able to start it).

I believe that this not an anomaly but rather the current behavior of all our cars.
 

vetboy45

Member
Feb 14, 2013
62
0
Kent wa
I think it's fairly unlikely that someone would jump into the car and take off with it while you're still close enough that the key is picked up. If you are really concerned about it, just use the key to lock the doors right after you get out. That being said, has anyone tested how far away from the car the key is picked up. Obviously it has to be recognized outside the car for the handles to work.
 

martinve

Active Member
Mar 26, 2013
1,048
0
Heerlen, NL
In my opinion, it should not start when they key is not inside the car.
It doesn't matter that it's unlikely or not.
Someone can jump into the car and take off. There is no way you can avoid that with the speed this car CAN take of.
 

olanmills

Member
Jun 20, 2012
345
11
You can disable the auto presenting handles if you want, but that doesn't stop someone who knows how the handles work (you just need to touch them to extend the handles withthe fob nearby).
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,323
2,674
Redmond, WA
Yeah, I'd prefer it if you couldn't start the car when the key is not inside it. (Or lock the car when the key is inside it, for that matter - at least without a warning).

But the lock-on-walkaway and auto-unlock-present handle features are optional conveniences. You can turn that stuff off and lock/unlock the car with your fob like a regular car if you prefer that. Then it seems to me that security and convenience are pretty comparable to any other car. (Or are there other cases I'm missing?)
 

anticitizen13.7

Not posting at TMC after 9/17/2018
Dec 22, 2012
3,638
5,761
United States
In my opinion, it should not start when they key is not inside the car.
It doesn't matter that it's unlikely or not.
Someone can jump into the car and take off. There is no way you can avoid that with the speed this car CAN take of.

I too have this opinion. If the key is not inside the car, it should not turn on. Tesla needs to fix this problem.

Anyone concerned about security should follow ChadS' advice until there is a software patch.
 
Last edited:

swegman

Active Member
Mar 27, 2012
1,580
1,619
In the Toyota Prius, the doors will unlock if the fob is near the car, but the car can not be started unless the fob is inside the car. Similarly, the car will not lock the doors if the fob remains inside the car.
 

kunal

Member
Mar 18, 2013
60
1
Bellevue, WA
Since huntjo suggested I call Tesla, I did just that. I called them and they said this is normal behavior. He said there have been cases where someone has left the key and driven 200 miles and then realized they don't have the key.

And to address montgom626, I am more concerned about someone who doesn't know to drive the car and create a problem. My cousins took off without me in the car by just randomly pressing buttons. I was more worried they would screw up the car by pressing random buttons, then if it was a test drive where I was in the car.

My solution today when people wanted to check out the car was I stood in the way of anyone trying to sit in the driver's seat.

The likelihood of someone trying to jump in the car is minimal but I still believe this is a security hole and should be addressed. I think the best thing is the car doesn't even start unless the key is inside the car.
 

mitch672

Active Member
Jul 1, 2012
1,861
15
Stoughton, MA
To have the Model S only start if the keyfob is inside, they will have to have the RF antennas have "zones", that is, the antenna inside the car has to be distinguishable from the externally mounted antennas. We don't know how it was designed, it's possible they can't be separated or distinguished, if that's the case, it will be impossbe to implement. I know this from owning multiple Priu, Toyota can tell if the keyfob is inside or outside the car, it's a nice feature not being able to lock the keyfob in the car as well... Of course with the remote iPhone/android app you can always unlock the car still.

Two ideas to solve the issue: allow the remote app to act as a "keyfob"" if you forget the key, also allow the remote app to "shutdown the car" with say a 5 minute notification to the driver, to allow them to safely pullover. That remote shutdown would also be a great feature if you were "car jacked" as well (and the keyfob was demanded by the thief or left in the car)
 

martinve

Active Member
Mar 26, 2013
1,048
0
Heerlen, NL
To have the Model S only start if the keyfob is inside, they will have to have the RF antennas have "zones", that is, the antenna inside the car has to be distinguishable from the externally mounted antennas. We don't know how it was designed, it's possible they can't be separated or distinguished, if that's the case, it will be impossbe to implement. I know this from owning multiple Priu, Toyota can tell if the keyfob is inside or outside the car, it's a nice feature not being able to lock the keyfob in the car as well... Of course with the remote iPhone/android app you can always unlock the car still.

Two ideas to solve the issue: allow the remote app to act as a "keyfob"" if you forget the key, also allow the remote app to "shutdown the car" with say a 5 minute notification to the driver, to allow them to safely pullover. That remote shutdown would also be a great feature if you were "car jacked" as well (and the keyfob was demanded by the thief or left in the car)

As this sounds like a very nice feature, Tesla needs to add a security menu to the app. For example enter a code before you may start up the app.
Reason is that people in general loose their phones more often compared to getting car jacked or loose/forget their key.
Would be aweful if you loose your phone and the finder starts screwing around with your car. Charging on/off, open windows, honk all the time etc. (I dread the thaught of remote shutdown in this situation)
Still even with the negative side, the option to use your smartphone as a backup key in case you forget your own, is a VERY good idea.

I hope Tesla reads this forum and does implement a better security for either the app and the keyfob.
 

sp4rk

Banned
Apr 25, 2012
1,219
3
Schaumburg, IL
I agree that this a serious security design flaw.

The following changes need to be made.

1) On the center console, the remote app switch from on to off should require a password to change. Otherwise those who know how to disable it easily. Password for service center different than owner password.

2) On app, password as well as stated above.

3) App feature to disable putting into drive?

4) As stated above, if physically possible, key has to be in car to drive off.
 

wycolo

Active Member
May 16, 2012
3,068
423
WA & WY
> because the car would shut down as soon as he hopped out at his destination (and he would no longer be able to start it). [SuperCoug]

So presence of key enables a latching, good until driver stops (or battery SOC=0), even as the key receeds into the distance. This is not optimal from a security perspective. Or if you leave key back on the porch. I'll need to check this out.
--


Sorry, did not see pg 2.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,867
Toronto, ON
To have the Model S only start if the keyfob is inside, they will have to have the RF antennas have "zones", that is, the antenna inside the car has to be distinguishable from the externally mounted antennas.

My last car, a Cadillac CTS did exactly that. It could somehow tell if the key fob was inside or outside of the car, even if the key fob was right against the exterior of the car. I could get out with the fob in my pocket and lean against the car and it would still auto-lock after the 15 second or so countdown. If I set the key fob on the hood or roof and got into the car, it would not start and display "Electronic Key Not Detected" on the dash.

Tesla seems to base it's logic on proximity to the key whereas my old Cadillac worked on some sort of inside vs. outside the car logic (which I prefer).
 

NeedToDrive

Member
Nov 18, 2012
107
5
El Segundo, Calif.
Agree with everyone else that that this highly undesirable behavior that needs to be addressed, though I don't think it is a design flaw as much as not thinking through the behavior in the first place. The problem is that the current design may not support detection when the fob is inside the car. To do that I believe that the car would need to be able to do more that just to detect the fobs presence, it would need to measure the power level as well (antenna design is another possibility but less likely). That needed hardware may not be designed into the MS.

On the other hand, it appears that the SW stops looking for the fob after it is put in drive. One fix I would like to see is some sort of authentication pass every x seconds after being put in drive. That way, if someone drives off without the fob the car would recognize that and sound a warning, then eventually shut itself down. Preferably x would be initially short enough to catch a fob left in the garage before one got too far down the street. After the first several seconds, I'd think the interval should be increased until it is certain the fob is in the car. This behavior would not need a power sensor, just SW changes.
 

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