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Volkswagen protects virtual key sharing app with Trustonic

Volkswagen is working with mobile cyber security leader Trustonic to enable customers to use smartphones to access their vehicles, and to securely share their digital car keys to grant access to others via a smartphone app.

Volkswagen is using the Trustonic Application Protection (TAP) platform to secure the mobile app and ensure that sensitive information and key transfer requests are securely displayed to, and approved by, a real authenticated user on a trusted device and not by hackers or malware simulating a user or device.

The smartphone is becoming the vehicle key of the future and our We Connect service is the interface for this today in the new Volkswagen Passat. The user installs the We Connect app on their smartphone which is then authorized via the infotainment system with a Transaction Number. The Mobile Key will be compatible with Android-based Samsung devices. No mobile network connection is required to use the smartphone as a mobile key. All the user needs to do is place the smartphone near the door handle, in the same way as the current keyless locking and starting system ‘Keyless Access’ opens the Passat today. To start the engine, the smartphone is placed in a new compartment with an interface in front of the Passat’s gear knob. It is also possible to send the mobile key to friends or family via the app so that they can also use their smartphone as a key for the car.

—Alf Pollex, Head of Infotainment and Connected Car at Volkswagen AG

By protecting the virtual key application using TAP, Volkswagen is making use of Trustonic’s Trusted User Interface (TUI) feature to securely display information to the user. TUI ensures that only the authenticated user of the device can confirm the key transfer, and to do so safely in isolation from the device’s main operating system during the confirmation.

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