Three cryptography experts from a Dutch university have cracked the codes used to start luxury cars such as Audis, Bentleys, Porsches, and Lamborghinis, knowledge that could allow anyone with the right tools to wirelessly lockpick a $300,000 car. The researchers were preparing to publish a paper in August explaining the method used to penetrate Megamos Crypto, the algorithm-based system used to verify an owner's key. However, Volkswagen's parent, which owns the four brands, has secured an injunction against the scientists from a UK court.
"The public have a right to see weaknesses in security."
The scientists argued that "the public have a right to see weaknesses in security on which they rely exposed," but a judge ruled three weeks ago that "car crime will be facilitated" if the scientists publish the algorithm. Volkswagen had asked them to publish a redacted version without the codes, but they declined. Since then, the decision has become part of a wider discussion about car security.
The injunction is a temporary step in the case brought by Volkswagen, so it's possible the decision could be reversed. In the meantime, we'll be on the lookout for PhDs driving 911s.