Skoda's KESSY System

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CJJE
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Post by CJJE »

Skoda's KESSY (Keyless Entry and Start System) allows you to unlock or lock the car, and start the engine without having to press a button on the key or insert it into a steering wheel lock.

To do this, the KESSY key needs to emit a weak radio signal that is picked up by the car, so that when the key is within around two metres of the car it will let you open a door by just pulling on the front door handle. When the door opens, the other doors and tailgate will also be unlocked. To lock the car, you just touch the dimple on the outside of the door handle. After locking, it is not possible to unlock the car for two seconds so you can check that the car is locked by pulling on the door handle. Holding your finger on the dimple will also close any open windows or the sunroof. Note that if the key is left inside the vehicle when it is locked, the car will unlock itself automatically. But if no door is opened it will lock again after 45 seconds with your key locked inside!

As you may have read recently, if you leave the by your front door while your car is parked nearby, thieves can now exploit these systems by one person intercepting the signal from your front door and transmitting it to a colleague standing by your car.

You can prevent this in the following ways:
1) Karoqs produced since September 2019 have a motion detector built into the key which turns the radio signal off after five minutes if the key is not moving. (Character 10 in the VIN code will be L, M, N or higher).

2) You can keep your key (and any spares) in a Faraday pouch which has a metallic lining to prevent the radio signal escaping.

3) You can deactivate the KESSY system in the car when you lock it by pressing the Lock button on the key and touching the dimple on the door handle within five seconds. The indicators will flash once in confirmation, and if you wait ten seconds then pull on the door handle you should find the door will not open. (To unlock the car, you now need to press the Unlock button on the key.) Note that the KESSY system is now activated again, and to deactivate it again you will need to repeat the above procedure.

4) You can fit a steering wheel lock as a visual deterrent just like we used to back in the 80's!

Chris
VW Golf GT 1.9TDI from 11/98 to 3/06; Skoda Octavia L&K 2.0TDI from 3/06 to 12/11; VW Golf Plus SE 1.6TDI DSG from 12/11 to 2/15; VW Golf SV SE 1.4TSI DSG from 2/15 to 11/20; Skoda Karoq Sportline 2.0TSI 4x4 DSG from 11/20.

Italiastar
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Post by Italiastar »

Intresting that you say keyless entry can be disabled - Everyone I've spoke to in dealerships say it cannot - Do you know if it can be permanently switched off by dealers?
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CJJE
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Post by CJJE »

The owner's manual for my MY21 Karoq explains how to disable the KESSY system, but it resets the next time you unlock the car so not permanently. Things change, so this may not be true for later cars - you'll need to check in your manual (in the Keys, locks and alarm system / KESSY locking section) to see if you can do this too.

There may be a software setting to disable it permanently but I have no information about this.

Chris
VW Golf GT 1.9TDI from 11/98 to 3/06; Skoda Octavia L&K 2.0TDI from 3/06 to 12/11; VW Golf Plus SE 1.6TDI DSG from 12/11 to 2/15; VW Golf SV SE 1.4TSI DSG from 2/15 to 11/20; Skoda Karoq Sportline 2.0TSI 4x4 DSG from 11/20.
BarryC
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Post by BarryC »

The motion detector would not work for me because I make a point of always keeping car key in buttoned trouser pocket, so always with me and small chance of losing it.

Faraday pouches seem a pain because undermine the point of keyless entry, if you have to fish it out of the pouch each time - might just as well fish out key as always used to.

Disabling keyless entry seems interesting, but are we sure that would defeat the hackers? Does the key stop transmitting? Or does the car ignore the signal? Would some part of the system still be enabled, given the ignition is always keyless?
Skoda Karoq 2020 SE L 2.0 Diesel 150 PS DSG 4x4
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CJJE
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Location: Stone, Staffordshire

Post by CJJE »

As I explained above, the key for recent cars stops transmitting when it has been stationary for a few minutes. So even if your key is in your pocket, it will not be transmitting when you are sleeping overnight (when the vast majority of relay thefts take place).

Pressing the door dimple as you lock the car will stop the car looking for a key signal until you inlock it again.

To my mind, fitting a steering wheel lock when you leave the car is less convenient than using a faraday pouch or disabling the KESSY system.

Chris
VW Golf GT 1.9TDI from 11/98 to 3/06; Skoda Octavia L&K 2.0TDI from 3/06 to 12/11; VW Golf Plus SE 1.6TDI DSG from 12/11 to 2/15; VW Golf SV SE 1.4TSI DSG from 2/15 to 11/20; Skoda Karoq Sportline 2.0TSI 4x4 DSG from 11/20.
sanqhar
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:55 pm

Post by sanqhar »

My 2018 has the system where you lock the car with the key button and within 5 seconds touch the dimple on the handle. The red light on the door then flashes fast. To test whether it has worked walk away Wait a little bit then see if the door unlocks the keyless way by touching the inside of the handle.
Whether this works on the later 'motion sensing' keys I don't know.

tom
....and today was a good day in the life of....
BarryC
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Post by BarryC »

Yes, on my "new" 2020 Karoq the keyless unlock disables when touching the dimple straight after locking with the key. The trouble is there could still be a vulnerability here, depending on how Skoda have designed the system (and they are hardly likely to reveal the details).

I'm a software engineer, and it is not uncommon for systems to have additional commands built into their systems for service engineer use, diagnostic use, factory use in manufacture, etc. (Any system I mean, not just cars). So Skoda may have designed their system so that once you have disabled the keyless entry, the key itself is likely still transmitting, and it is just the car that is ignoring any keyless unlock requests, such as touching the handle. But if thieves know some "hidden" key command the manufacturer has programmed into the system, then they might still be able to bypass the disabling of the keyless entry.

So it feels like the only really safe way is to stop the key transmitting. I've no idea why these keys do not simply have an on/off capability, seems daft not to. But I guess a Faraday pouch is the next best thing, though inconvenient for me.

I keep my key in my trouser pocket, which means I would need to keep that in my pocket with the key in, in case of car park theft. So then I come back to the car and unlock the car. But it's keyless ignition also, so I cannot leave the key in my pocket in its pouch else I will not be going anywhere. Even in the same pocket alongside the pouch might be dodgy, if the key signal were to get blocked - would the engine suddenly stop on the move?
Skoda Karoq 2020 SE L 2.0 Diesel 150 PS DSG 4x4
IanW
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Post by IanW »

if the key signal were to get blocked - would the engine suddenly stop on the move?
No. Try it, start the engine and then get out of the car with the key. You get a warning that the key is out of range but the engine will continue to run.
BarryC
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Post by BarryC »

IanW wrote: Sat Mar 23, 2024 7:28 am
if the key signal were to get blocked - would the engine suddenly stop on the move?
No. Try it, start the engine and then get out of the car with the key. You get a warning that the key is out of range but the engine will continue to run.
That's good to know. I will indeed give it a try.
Skoda Karoq 2020 SE L 2.0 Diesel 150 PS DSG 4x4
BTandSid
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2023 10:24 am

Post by BTandSid »

Intended responding sooner but managed to lock myself out of the forum and have only just been reinstated 👍
I’d always locked and opened the car using the keyless method but there seems to have been a spate of car thefts in the borough recently (mainly Land Rovers and big 4x4s) so I’ve reverted to using the key fob and back-up ‘handle-dimpling’ 😂 Also have a steering wheel security bar so hoping to deter any scumbags out there
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