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The secret codes used to start Audis have been cracked

The scientist who cracked the code taken to court

10/08/2013 06:41 |  Comments: 

Editor

Our heavyweight champion, Balázs, or better known as Assur on the premises is the news writer of the mother site, totalcar.hu. Oh yes, he’s an automotive engineer too. They say there isn’t a data that has ever escaped his mind, all we know is that he can drop into any conversation about any car that was made after the war, and he’ll be able to add a ton of details you won’t ever be able to find in books. He has been thinking of selling his longserving Volvo for years, so he always has some used car adverts open on his computer, just in case. Has a wife and two (almost grown-up) children.

The system protecting the most expensive models of Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche is not so safe after all.

A Dutch scientist has announced that he has cracked the encrypting system called Megamos Crypto, which is used to unlock the cars of the Volkswagen group. VW is now taking legal action to prevent the publication of the secret codes which enable even the most expensive Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis to be opened and started on the grounds that it could start a crime wave. Another problem is that if one scientist managed to hack it, others could succeed too.

Megamos Crypto is an ID system which is capable of identifying the key belonging to any given lock, and blocks the car being opened by and started with any other key. So far it was believed to be absolutely safe, but according to the Dutch scientist the system can be cracked after all. The expert had planned to disclose the exact description of the code system at some time in August, but the lawyers of the VW group have intervened: they have sued the scientist claiming that the Megamos codes going public would aid the criminals. The judge seems to agree.

The cars protected by the code system are in no danger just yet, but the case is reason enough to worry as it is a clear sign that it is worth trying to crack the Megamos Crypto, and sooner or later someone who succeeds at it will no doubt make their findings public. The VW is obviously going to modify the encrypting program, but that won't be of much help to the owners of all the cars fitted with the old system that have been sold in the past couple of years.

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