A group of scientists based in Britain and the Netherlands has cracked the algorithms used in keys to start Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis. The scientists had planned on revealing their findings in an academic paper, but a British high court banned them from doing so for now, citing the danger of gifting such information to car hackers and thieves.
Flavio Garcia is a lecturer in computer science at the University of Birmingham, and, along with his colleagues Baris Ege and Roel Verdult from the Stichting Katholieke University in the Netherlands, dissected the codes that the keys transmit to the vehicle for unlocking and starting. The cars in question all belong to the Volkswagen, and it was VW that pleaded with the courts to block the planned unveiling of the findings at a seminar in Washington, D.C., in August.
The scientists say they aim to improve safety for everyone, uncovering existing weaknesses and sharing them with the public in an effort to drive more secure systems. The Guardian reports that during proceedings in court, it emerged that the software behind the code has been available online since 2009.