The Trainer #149: The GateKeeper

June 28, 2024
On this episode of the Trainer, join Motor Age Technical Editor, Brandon Steckler as he carries out the AutoAuth registration/authentication process to quickly gain access to a 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

To this day, technicians industry-wide have apprehensions about Secured Gateway (or SGW). Fears like:

“SGW causes limited scan tool functionality” and, “We need factory-level tooling” are rumors frequently shared.

With today’s connected vehicles, SGW was implemented (On 2018+ FCA vehicles and some 2020+ Nissans) to protect vehicles against infiltration from the outside world.

In 2018, two clever men were able to develop software to wirelessly sabotage (or “hack”) successfully into a 2014 Jeep Cherokee. They did so without any added devices to the vehicle. The hack was carried about by infiltrating the vehicle’s connected infotainment system.

This infiltration allowed the hackers to take over the vehicle’s audio, windshield wipers, climate control, steering, powertrain, and braking systems. This left the door open for hundreds of thousands of vehicles with the same connected infotainment system.

In 2018 FCA developed a device known as the Secured Gateway to prevent infiltration from the outside world. Just as it is described, it acts as a gate that opens and closes. Allowing information to be accessed or restricted, via the DLC or Infotainment system. Through technician and scan tool registration, access was granted for that individual using that scan tool (and tethered PC). This was at the OE/Dealership level. For the aftermarket to have that same level of access a 12+8 cable was need to bypass the SGW, requiring removal of the Infotainment head unit for access. This was very time consuming.

Without authentication, the scan tool is left with limited functionality like scanning for powertrain DTCs and monitoring live powertrain data. No bi-directional control, special tests, or even a DTC clear can be carried out.

A third party known as AutoAuth mimicked FCA’s model to provide that same level of security for the independent aftermarket shops/technicians (or IAMs). The same authentication process can now be carried out for the IAMs.

In this video, the Autel MS-Ultra is featured establishing connectivity to 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and a connection to the AutoAuth server via a WiFi connection. This allows the MS-Ultra to authenticate just as the dealer technicians do. More importantly for independent technicians, there is no longer a need to remove/bypass components for connectivity. With just few key strokes, authentication is carried out in just several seconds and full functionality of the MS-Ultra is available.