Volkswagen is no stranger to controversies, especially so after the Dieselgate debacle in which the German automaker evaded the emission norms with a defeat device. Now it is alleged (and proven) that almost 100-Million Volkswagen cars manufactured between 1995 to 2016 including the cars from sister brands have been affected.

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The vulnerability came to light after researchers from the University of Birmingham along with German Security firm Kasper & Oswald published a paper on the same. All one would need is a £30 homemade radio. Also, another method was demonstrated by the researchers which included exploiting cryptographic scheme with a complex vulnerability. The hacker will target the car with the key fob signals with the help of the cheap homemade radio we mentioned earlier.

The researchers cloned the digital keys and found that they could unlock a diversified range of VW group vehicles. Researchers cleverly reverse engineered the cryptographic key which allowed them to break through the keyless entry system. Mr. Kasper, one of the researchers had reportedly approached the manufacturer in 2015 and after subsequent meetings, Volkswagen is looking at the problem. In the meanwhile, to minimize the damage Volkswagen has requested the researchers not to reveal the key pieces of information. Furthermore, the researchers have also discovered similar types of exploits in other car brands and will reveal the same in the future.

We need to understand the gravity of the situation here, it’s simply not possible to recall cars manufactures more than 20-years ago and change the control units. The best method would be to prevent the discovery of the crucial cryptographic key but again that’s hardly a resolution. This entire ordeal once again escalates the billion-dollar question, how vulnerable are the current generation automobiles to such attacks? It was only some time ago that a group of hackers had successfully gained entry to the Chrysler Jeep’s control unit and were able to completely control the vehicle.

PHOTO CREDITS: Indian Express
Source: BBC

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Senior Author

Mahit Huilgol is a Mechanical Engineering graduate and is a Technology and Automobile aficionado. He ditched the Corporate boardroom wars in the favor for technology battle ground. Also a foodie by heart and loves both the edible chips and the non-edible silicon chips.