Tessie Adds Tesla Sign-In and Virtual Keys for Extra Security

tesla virtual key

Tessie, a third-party application for Tesla vehicles, has announced the addition of a new security feature, the Virtual Key, which will be mandatory for most Tesla models starting in 2024. This development aims to bolster the security of remote commands sent to Tesla vehicles.

Not only that, Tessie has quietly added support for Tesla Sign-In. This means you can connect the app to your Tesla account without giving up your credentials and instead using Tesla’s official sign-in.

Key Features of Tessie’s Virtual Key:

  • The Virtual Key facilitates secure, end-to-end encrypted commands over the internet.
  • It is compatible with Tesla Model 3/Y and 2021 or newer Model S/X vehicles.
  • Users can enable the Virtual Key by changing to Next-Gen under Settings > Connectivity in the Tesla app and following the instructions on the Tessie website.

How to switch from Tessie’s regular sign in over to Tesla sign-in? Launch Tessie, go to Settings > Connectivity > Change to Next-Gen (Experimental). This will forward you to Tesla’s Sign-In process.

From here, Tesla’s website explains the access that third-party apps will have. You can select what you want to share, such as your profile information, vehicle information, vehicle commands and vehicle data. Once you’ve ticked off what you want to share and click next, you’ll get an “authentication successful” message confirming you are now connected to Tesla.

How to Add the Tesla Virtual Key:

  1. Open the Tesla app and select a vehicle.
  2. Visit the designated Tessie link on Tesla’s website.
  3. Follow the prompt to add the key to the selected vehicle. If the prompt doesn’t appear, users are advised to force close the Tesla app and retry.
  4. Once added, Tessie can securely send commands to the vehicle over the internet.

James, the founder of Tessie, in an email to Tesla North, explained the significance of this update. “Virtual Key installs our unique encryption fingerprint on your car. We then add our encrypted signature to every command sent. This ensures that only commands from Tessie, matching the installed signature, are accepted by the car, enhancing security against cyber attacks.”

He further elaborated that even if someone were to steal a user’s Tessie/Tesla account linking token, any unauthorized command without Tessie’s unique signature would be ineffective.

This move by Tessie represents a significant step in enhancing the security and functionality of Tesla vehicles, ensuring that remote commands are securely transmitted and executed, thereby safeguarding against potential cyber threats. Starting in 2024, Tesla says all vehicles (except fleet vehicles) will require Tesla Vehicle Command protocol. The REST API will be fully deprecated.

Tessie is our third-party Tesla app of choice, as it includes an Apple Watch app, plus allows you to set a custom, repeating automations, such as turning on climate based on a specific time, day and location, for example. Click here to download Tessie and get one month free.