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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    British Court Bars Scientists From Revealing How To Break Into Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche Vehicles

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    July 29, 2013

    Three computer scientists who were going to publish a paper on how to circumvent the security system that verifies the identity of an ignition key have been stopped by the UK High Court.

    Flavio Garcia, a computer science lecturer at the University of Birmingham and Baris Ege and Roel Verdult, two cryptography experts from Dutch university Stichting Katholieke were going to publish a paper at the Usenix Security Symposium in Washington DC next month. The paper was to outline how they were able to crack a system called Megamos Crypto, a system that allows a vehicle to check the identity of a ignition key.

    However, Volkswagen filed an injection against the publication of this report due to four of its brands (Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Porsche) using this system. Volkswagen told the court that the Megamos Crypto system was used in a number of its vehicles and other vehicles and that the publication could "allow someone, especially a sophisticated criminal gang with the right tools, to break the security and steal a car". Volkswagen goes onto say that they asked the scientists to publish a redacted version of their paper. They declined.

    The scientists argued that "the public have a right to see weaknesses in security on which they rely exposed". Otherwise, the "industry and criminals know security is weak but the public do not". They also argued that the paper would not increase the theft of vehicles due to the process to crack the system is complicated and costing £50,000 (about $76,785) to do it.

    Source: The Guardian

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    VW is showing their stupidity, they should be working with these guys to fix the weak security issues and beef up making it even harder to break in. $76K is nothing for a criminal gang to spend if they can steal 6 cars a week and sell them on the black market.

    These crypto specialist are showing them that they need to not sit on their laurels and get going to the next special thing to keep these cars safe. Sounds like VW has NOT done their QA testing that well and instead of working with these bright people to fix the issues and put out upgrades to the system they would rather keep it status quo and spend money in courts to fight change.

    Idiot VW, this sounds like a bean counters way of thinking it is cheaper to do a legal filing than to pay these guys for their research and fix the real problem.

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