Feeds

Transit agency to work with hackers who found vulns

First gagged, now recruited

High performance access to file storage

A New England transit agency has vowed to work with three Massachusetts Institute of Technology undergraduates whom it had previously sued when they discovered serious flaws in the agency's electronic payment systems.

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) said it would work with Zack Anderson, RJ Ryan, and Alessandro Chiesa to make improvements to the agency's fare collection system "that will be as straightforward and inexpensive to address as possible." In August, the MBTA obtained a court order gagging the trio just hours before they were scheduled to speak about the gaping holes at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas.

"It feels really good," Zack Anderson said on Monday. "I'm glad after all that has happened the lawsuit is behind us."

The MBTA claimed the students would be in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act merely by presenting research showing it was possible to add hundreds of dollars to cards used pay subway fares. Many of their findings were based on research that had been released months earlier showing how to compromise the Mifare smartcard, the underlying technology used in the MBTA's CharlieCard.

Ten days later, the gag order was lifted after a federal judge rejected the MBTA's arguments.

"Basically, that meant the case was over," said Jennifer Granick, a staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation who represented the students. "It just took some time for the MBTA to dismiss the case and to work out an agreement separate from the dismissal ... for the students to meet with the MBTA and talk to them about their research in a more friendly setting."

The MBTA dropped its lawsuit in October, but the parties held off discussing the dismissal publicly until they worked out a plan to work together, Granick said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
Oz bank in comedy Heartbleed blog FAIL
Bank: 'We are now safely patched.' Customers: 'You were using OpenSSL?'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
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.
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.