A group of computer scientists has been prevented from releasing a paper that could be used to start just about any vehicle from the Volkswagen Group, including Bentleys, Porsches and Audis.
Flavio D. Garcia, a lecturer in computer science at the university of Birmingham, and a pair of Dutch scientists wanted to publish their paper, entitled “Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser.” Megamos Crypto is the name of the algorithm that works out the secret codes to start VW group’s vehicles, and a judge has ruled that releasing those codes could lead to a rash of vehicle thefts.
Volkswagen asked the group to released a revised version of the paper that did not feature the specific codes, but the scientists declined. The group claims that they are “responsible, legitimate academics doing responsible, legitimate academic work,” with the goal of providing more information to consumers about the security systems on their vehicles.
For now, an interim injunction has been imposed on the group, and will be followed by a full case from Volkswagen against the scientists that says this information can “allow someone, especially a sophisticated criminal gang with the right tools, to break the security and steal a car”.
[Source: The Guardian]