VW has obtained a court order which forbids three computer scientists to publish an academic paper which includes information about secret codes used to start luxury vehicles.
The automaker said that the secret codes might be used by “a sophisticated criminal gang with the right tools, to break the security and steal a car”. According to the Guardian newspaper, the scientists managed to crack the security system and found out the unique algorithm, called Megamos Crypto, which allows the vehicle to recognize the identity of the ignition key.
VW said it asked the scientists to publish the paper entitled ‘Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser’ without the codes, but they did not accept. The German automaker said that the system is used by other automakers, besides Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley and Porsche.
The scientists said that their academic work is legitimate and that what they are trying to do is to improve security for everyone. Birmingham University said that it is disappointed of the court not defending public interest and academic freedom. The paper was to be published this August at the Usenix Security Symposium in Washington DC, but it will now be postponed due to the restraining order.