It’s not widely known, but hackers can duplicate your vehicle’s remote key fob just by getting near it with the right cloning device, called a “relay box.” They’re able to do this because most vehicle key fobs remain on and active all the time, whether they’re being used by the owner or anywhere near the vehicle.
To counteract this threat posed by hacker key duplication, Ford has introduced a new key fob that goes to sleep when it’s been stationary for 40 seconds, according to The Car Connection.
While the key fob is in sleep mode, it prevents bad actors from copying the fob’s radio signal and accessing your car. And with a virtually cloned fob, they can lock, unlock and start your vehicle remotely.
The new sleep-mode-enabled key fob will be introduced as standard equipment on the all-new Ford Fiesta available now in England. The tech will be included with the new Focus in the United Kingdom next month as well.
Whether the technology will be offered here in the U.S. is unclear at this time. Generally, automakers keep news close to their vest until they’re ready to talk about it.
“We’ll have more news to share about this technology at a later date,” an American Ford spokesman told The Car Connection.
This is likely a small step toward Ford, along with other automakers, cracking down on hacking sensitivity of their vehicles. After all, when cars are autonomous, the consequences of their being hacked could be dire. So to ensure their safety, carmakers are going to have to work to stay several steps ahead of would-be hackers.