Over the past couple of years, the Volkswagen Group (VAG), which consists of car brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, and Lamborghini, as well as other vehicle manufacturers, have released plentiful new vehicles. While they share their differences in the types of engines that are available, including electric-only models, body types, sizes, and other characteristics, they share one common thing: SFD protection.
SFD is an acronym that means Schutz Fahrzeug Diagnose or in English, Vehicle Diagnostic Protection. VAG introduced the safety measure following the analyses of their products, which showcased “that there is an increased requirement for protection of data in vehicles,” according to a manual prepared about SFD by Volkswagen. The protective layer was added in early-2020 with the introduction of the Volkswagen Golf MK8, following which, “there will be a cross-brand introduction of the SFD procedure in order to provide Vehicle Diagnostic Protection.”
Still, modifying your newest vehicle, even if it is a minor change to a control unit was made much more difficult without going to a dealership, as the first stage of the introduction of the measure “comprises access protection of protected diagnostic objects in control units and the verifiability of this access on an individual level.” As such, adjusting functions or enabling or disabling features of your vehicle became a much more time and money-consuming process.
Using smart diagnostic devices for SFD-protected cars
While using various smart diagnostic devices to access a car’s control units has not been anything out of the norm to change the characteristics of your car, the latest update to the way VAG cars communicate with their servers has upended the situation. Now, to ensure the security of the vehicles the group builds, modification of control units is only available to authenticated users that use a secure connection between the vehicle and Volkswagen‘s servers.
As a result, adjusting the way your car drives or any comfort features became much harder, especially if you are not using an officially licensed tool that can unlock access to your four-wheeled machine‘s control units.
“In order to be able to log access to diagnostic contents requiring protection in future, the IT security organization requires strong user authentication to be enforced. It is, therefore, necessary to use two-factor authentication,” further read the manual, as an online connection will be mandatory for the SFD processes. “The offline activation is a fall-back solution in the event that, for example, the online connection of the vehicle diagnostic tester in the workshop is unavailable at short notice,” continued the manual, which goes into detail about the SFD procedure for dealerships.
However, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, as officially licensed third-party tools allow users to legally unlock their car’s control units.
OBDeleven’s SFD unlocking capabilities
With OBDeleven being an officially licensed third-party tool, the diagnostic tool’s users can unlock additional features of their vehicles even if they have left either Volkswagen’s, Audi’s, Seat’s, Skoda’s, or any other VAG-associated car maker’s factory recently.
The intelligent automotive device has opened the capabilities for its users to unlock SFD-protected control units in November 2021, as PRO and ULTIMATE, as well as those who use One-Click Apps, have modified their cars since. The only caveat is that, according to VAG’s safety requirements, users will have to fill out their data, namely their name, surname, phone number, and country of residence, for the manufacturer’s servers to process the request.
With access to all MQB Evo and MEB platform-based vehicles, OBDeleven has allowed owners of such cars as the Golf MK8, Seat Leon MK4, Skoda Octavia MK4, or the battery-powered ID.3, ID.4, and the upcoming ID.5, to fine-tune their driving experience with various functions that can be turned on or off with One-Click Apps. If a user is more knowledgeable with software development or electrical engineering, they can also use Coding / Long Coding on their SFD-protected vehicles to go deeper into their control units to completely customize their car’s performance, or their customers’ vehicles, to their exact needs.
With the SFD auto-unlock feature, customizing and modifying automobiles, even if they are protected with Volkswagen’s latest safety feature, has never been easier with OBDeleven. The device also has a manual unlock feature, allowing users to unlock their control units for a brief period before they are locked again, or are locked by pressing the SFD protection button in the control unit on their smartphone.