Feeds

Chinese boffins provoke Oz speed camera kerfuffle

Case binned after image algorithm cracked

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Chinese scientists are the unlikely heroes of a New South Wales speeding case which saw a Sydney magistrate dismiss the charge against an alleged speed merchant because the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) could not prove that its vital photographic evidence was "secure", news.com.au reports.

At the centre of the brouhaha lies the MD5 algorithm, used to "store the time, date, place, numberplate and speed of cars caught on camera", as smh.com.au explains.

MD5 is intended to safeguard against tampering with this information by turning it into a 128-bit sequence of digits. However, the chaps from the China's Shandong University proved it was possible to alter the data and retain the same code, ie, the RTA could theoretically change, for example, the car's speed without any evidence of tampering.

The whole thing came to a head when lawyer Denis Miralis used this possible abuse against the RTA in the case of a man allegedly caught speeding in a school zone last November. In June, Magistrate Lawrence Lawson gave the RTA eight weeks to produce an expert willing to testify that the photos had not been doctored. When the RTA failed, Lawson threw out the case and awarded the defendant AU$3,300 costs.

Miralis immediately demanded an enquiry into all NSW's 110 speed cameras, declaring: "The integrity of all speed camera offences has been thrown into serious doubt and it appears that the RTA is unable to prove any contested speed camera matter because of a lack of admissible evidence."

Unsurprisingly, the NSW Law Society admitted the judgment might "open the doors for other drivers caught by speed cameras to mount the same defence".

As for MD5, encryption expert Nick Ellsmore said: "Since the [Chinese] research came out, we've been recommending that clients move away from MD5 and we've certainly recommended that people don't use it for new applications." ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Och aye! It's the Loch Ness Monster – but only Apple fanbois can see it
Fondleslab-friendly beastie's wake spotted... OR WAS IT?
Spanish village called 'Kill the Jews' mulls rebranding exercise
Not exactly attractive to the Israeli tourist demographic
Sleuths find nosy NORKS drones on the Chinternet
UAVs likely to have been made in the Middle Kingdom
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
Dorian Nakamoto gets $23,000 payout over Bitcoin invention saga
Maintains he didn't create cryptocurrency, but will join community
Japanese boffin EYES up big bucks with strap-on digi-glasses
AgencyGlass saddles user with creepy OLED display
Forget the beach 'n' boardwalk, check out the Santa Cruz STEVE JOBS FOUNTAIN
Reg reader snaps shot of touching tribute to Apple icon
Happy 40th Playmobil: Reg looks back at small, rude world of our favourite tiny toys
Little men straddle LOHAN, attend tiny G20 Summit... ah, sweet memories...
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.