The German car maker Volkswagen and the French group Thales have blocked a move by researchers at Birmingham University (UK) to show how car immobilizers can be hacked. They argue that the technology could be used by criminals…which seems to confirm that the researchers are right that the technology can be hacked.
“The University of Birmingham is disappointed with the judgement which did not uphold the defence of academic freedom and public interest, but respects the decision,” said a spokeswoman.
“It has decided to defer publication of the academic paper in any form while additional technical and legal advice is obtained given the continuing litigation. The university is therefore unable to comment further at this stage.” (source)
The judge in the case has ruled that the details should not be made public pending the full trial. Lawyers for the companies said that the underlying algorithm was confidential and that criminal activity could result if the details were made public.
The injunction comes just a few days after the death of Barnaby Jack, an elite hacker who was due to expose flaws in implanted medical equipment at the Black Hat Event in Las Vegas. No cause of death has yet been given.