It’s ok to reveal how London Oyster card is cracked: court

July 22nd, 2008 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 22 (IANS) Dutch researchers will now be able to publish details of how to hack Oyster cards that are used to travel on London’s public transport system, thanks to a court ruling. Details of a computer hack that allowed researchers to clone identity cards that are used by millions to access buildings and use public transport would soon make its way into print.

The company which makes the Mifare smartcard, used to gain access to thousands of British schools and to ride on the London Underground and buses, had sought to prevent the researchers from publishing details of the hack.

But a court in Holland has paved the way for academics from Radboud University to explain how they were able to ride the Tube free for a day with a cloned Oyster card and even sneak into Dutch government buildings.

The Time quoted Bart Jacobs, who led the research team, as saying he would hold off publishing his findings until the Dutch government and NXP, which makes the technology used in Mifare cards, had had a chance to make their systems more resilient.

Radboud University welcomed the ruling: “In a democratic society it is of great importance that the results of scientific research can be published.”

Transport for London said it was reviewing its security systems though it was confident that the Oyster card system was secure.

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