Are Virtual Car Keys Safe?

Apple’s new, next generation CarKey feature

Roll-up windows. Cigarette lighters. Physical ignition keys. All of these features have gone virtually extinct in modern automobiles. The quaint metal key gave way to transponder fobs, which led to “proximity keys” that don’t leave your pocket at all. Now, smartphones are becoming the new gatekeepers.

On March 3, 2020, Apple introduced a new feature that has the potential to further disrupt the automotive industry. CarKey, an innovative function that allows users to unlock, lock, and start certain NFC-compatible vehicles, is included in the latest iPhone and Apple Watch software update (iOS 13.4).1

CarKey saves a virtual version of your car keys in the Wallet app on their iPhone and Apple Watch. What’s even cooler? These virtual car keys can be shared via text using the Messages app. This means you can easily share multiple sets of virtual car keys with spouses, family members, and individuals whom you trust.

Although controlling your car through virtual keys is very innovative and convenient, it can sometimes be the reason of worry. Here are some of the pros and cons of virtual car keys.

 

Pros of virtual car keys

  • Virtual car keys make it easier to lock, unlock and start your vehicle without needing the physical key or key fob.
  • Virtual car keys can be shared with drivers you trust. This is especially useful for families that share a vehicle.
  • Virtual car keys make it impossible to lock your keys inside of your car.
  • Virtual car keys are difficult to misplace, as they are stored on your smartphone.
  • Virtual car keys reduce the risk of having your physical car keys stolen. Plus, most of us use a password or facial recognition on our smartphones, which places our virtual car keys behind a very secure access point.

 

Cons of virtual car keys

  • Virtual car keys can’t be easily given to parking attendants, valets or mechanics—yet—which means you will still need to carry your physical keys in certain situations.
  • Virtual car keys introduce new cybersecurity threats that are not fully understood. For example, hackers may be able to access your virtual car keys if you have unintentionally visited a malicious website or downloaded an app with malware on your smartphone.
  • Virtual car keys rely on technology that anticipates a driver’s approach and unlocks the vehicle from up to 30 feet away. This is longer than a traditional key fob’s range, which means there is a greater risk of the vehicle being stolen as the driver approaches.
  • Virtual car keys can become inaccessible if you drop or shatter your smartphone while out, or if your smartphone is lost or stolen.

 

Are virtual car keys just another distraction for drivers?

Although virtual car keys are not intended for use while driving, smartphone technology is largely responsible for the growing number of distracted driving accidents. In Florida, distracted driving is responsible for over 50,000 automobile accidents each year.2

As technology advances, we are becoming more dependent upon our smartphones every day. We text, email, scroll through social media, take photos, listen to music, watch movies, get directions, shop, play games, search the internet and use countless apps for nearly every modern company on our smartphones. Now, with even more functionality being given to these devices, we will become increasingly consumed with using smartphones in some way at all times.

Fighting distracted driving is something all of us can – and should – be doing. To learn more, check out our blog Myth Busters: Do you believe these 5 distracted driving myths.

 

Injured in a crash with a distracted driver on the Treasure Coast?

If you were involved in a Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Vero Beach, or Sebastian distracted driving accident, it’s important that you contact an experienced personal injury firm right away. At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we know that distracted driving accidents can cause serious physical, financial and emotional turmoil for the victims and their families. We handle the entire process from A to Z for our clients, and we’re always available whenever you need to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

For the last 40+ years, our law firm has been trusted by tens of thousands of clients involved in car accidents, motorcycle wrecks, and 18-wheeler accidents along the Treasure Coast. Led by Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer Steve Hoskins, who is also recognized as the Nation’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers, our personal injury department has recovered over $500 million on behalf of our clients and their families. We go the distance to make sure injury claims are handled quickly and professionally so you can focus on recovery. We never settle for less and don’t leave a penny on the table. Put our legal expertise and experience to work for you.

If you’ve been injured in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Okeechobee, Vero Beach or Sebastian, receive a FREE case evaluation today and find out how Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd may be able to help you! Call 866-930-6345.

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