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Volkswagen worried it would lead to car theft

Volkswagen has won a UK court case which will prevent a team of computer scientists from publishing a study that reveals secret codes used to start luxury vehicles. 

Mr Justice Birss of the high court ruled in favor of Volkswagen, imposing an injunction on the scientists who wrote the paper. The paper, titled "Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser," was written by Falvio Garcia (University of Birmingham in England), Roel Verdult and Baris Ege (both from Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands).

The paper detailed an algorithm -- called Megamos Crypto -- which is a security system that allows a vehicle to correctly identify its ignition key through a series of codes. 

Volkswagen argued that sophisticated criminals could use the codes to steal luxury vehicles under its umbrella including Porsches, Audis, Bentleys, and Lamborghinis. 


But the research team said that the paper wasn't written for the purpose of helping criminals. Rather, it was meant to expose flaws in security systems in order to make them better. Also, the team said that criminals may already be aware of the flaws, but the public doesn't, and they need to be armed with this knowledge. 

Volkswagen asked that the team publish a version of the paper without the codes, but Garcia and the others declined this request.  

However, the judge sided with Volkswagen's reasoning in regards to worries over theft, and imposed an interim injunction that would prevent the team from presenting the paper at the Usenix Security Symposium in Washington, DC this August. 

Source: Automotive News Europe





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