Feeds

Dutch university can publish controversial Oyster research

Freedom of speech trumps all

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Dutch researchers will be able to publish their controversial report on the Mifare Classic (Oyster) RFID chip in October, a Dutch judge ruled today.

Researchers from Radboud University in Nijmegen revealed two weeks ago they had cracked and cloned London's Oyster travelcard and the Dutch public transportation travelcard, which is based on the same RFID chip. Attackers can scan a card reading unit, collect the cryptographic key that protects security and upload it to a laptop. Details are then transferred to a blank card, which can be used for free travel.

Around one billion of these cards have been sold worldwide. The card is also widely used to gain access to government departments, schools and hospitals around Britain.

Chipmaker NXP - formerly Philips Semiconductors - had taken Radboud University to court to prevent researchers publishing their controversial report on the chip during a the European computer security conference in Spain this autumn. Spokesperson for NXP Martijn van der Linden said that publishing the report would be "irresponsible" - understandably, the company fears criminals will be able to attack Mifare Classic-based systems.

However, the judge today ruled that freedom of speech outweighs the commercial interest of NXP, as "the publication of scientific studies carries a lot of weight in a democratic society".

The researchers have always said they don't intend to include details of how to clone the card and that publications could prevent similar errors occurring in the future. NXP says it is disappointed with the ruling. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.