back to article Boffins (finally) publish hack for world's most popular smartcard

Two research papers published Monday have finally made it official: The world's most widely deployed radio frequency identification (RFID) smartcard - used to control access to transportation systems, military installations, and other restricted areas - can be cracked in a matter of minutes using inexpensive tools. One paper …


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  1. Mattyod

    Dummies Guide

    ok so where's my dummies guide to self re-inbursing the randon £4 that is regularly deducted from my Oyster card?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Free trips


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    omg it's true

    A teacher told me years ago that if you where going into science you needed to learn german so you could read scientific papers. It was, and is, obviously bollocks because they all speak english and we won the war.

    ... until now - is in bleeding german. I think a referral to the competition people might be in order, the square heads have got a massive advantage here.


  4. Anonymous Coward

    Cut out and keep template

    The Achilles Heel in the [insert product here] is a proprietary encryption scheme

    Keep to hand for next crypto breach.

    Mines the one with the sleeves stiched up to prevent cold hands, instead of those pesky industry-standard gloves.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Re Dummies Guide

    Silly, someone's already cloned your card, that's where the money's going....

    Mine's the one with the rfid reader , asus pc and lots of blank cards in the pocket, thanks

  6. Kyle

    TFL have of course leapt into action

    and upgraded the Oyster card system....wait, what's that? They did nothing and hoped the problem would go away?


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    mifare plus, secure? hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

  8. Anonymous Coward

    This one's brilliant...

    You can just imagine the same sales chimps who were there pitching to governments and military groups across the world saying how secure the chip is are now saying "yeah, well if you want the security to be OK buy that one but if you want it to be bulletproof you need to upgrade".

  9. BoldMan

    Random charges on Oyster


    Thats probably those occasions where the card reader failed to read the card properly and you were charged the "penalty" fare.

    It happened once on my GF card at Liverpool St- she swiped it and the gate didn't open. There was no guard visible so we went to the ticket machines to charge it up as I thought it was empty. just as a check I got the machine to show the most recent transactions and saw a £4 charge from a few minutes before that took the balance to less than £1. So we went to the ticket window and the bloke there told us that the system automatically deducts £4 from your card on entry and then when you swipe out it adds back any overpaied fare. So if you don't swipe out again you pay the £4!

  10. Anonymous Coward


    You're normally charged £4 if you don't tap out at the end of a DLR journey (having tapped in at the beginning obviously)

    Mines the one with a foil coated Oyster.

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Now I can get my money back for all the time stolen from me by London Underground.

    I've spent months crammed onto the Northern Line, stuck in a tunnel and effectively passing on significant costs to my employers and giving up my family life because they can't run a halfway adequate service despite ramming the prices through the roof and getting a bung from the government. A couple of free years on hacked oyster cards will start to recover some of what they owe me I reckon.

    "There is a good service on the Northern Line" my big fat hairy ....

    Mine's the one with 20 identical oyster cards and a copy of "Going Underground" by the "Amateur Transplants" in the pocket.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Don't call it "swipe out"

    I'm regularly frustrated by the buffoons that literally swipe their oyster card, and fail to understand why it doesn't work - HOLD it against the reader!

    Oh and if it errors due to a mis-read, don't re-try on the same reader - it won't work after a failed attempt. Move on to another one and let folks like me through that understand how to use it.

    If you could also ensure you have the card out ready by the time you approach the gate to save you fumbling through pockets or handbags, dat'd be grand tanks.

    Miffed of London

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Our works canteen uses these cards and the refill machine refunds cards if required! OHHH now where do I get a card reader from?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ "Swipe Out"

    "Oh and if it errors due to a mis-read, don't re-try on the same reader - it won't work after a failed attempt. "

    Oh yes it will - I keep mine in my wallet so sometimes it isn't read properly. Trying it again at the same barrier will work.

  15. Dave

    @ Don't call it "swipe out"

    And that my dear is why I am soooo glad to be out of London!! People standing in the gate, or pushing in or fishing around for the wallet, no purse, no card holder, no phone .... arrrgh!

    Nothing more annoying... other than the stampede when the train was announced for boarding at the same time as 2 others all on the same set of platforms :S Urgh! Commuting... I am so glad I can just walk the 15 minutes to work now :)

  16. Anonymous Coward

    15 minutes to work

    Being able to walk 15 minutes to work doesn't have much to do with whether or not you live in London. Many people in London do not follow the traditional commuter pattern of work in the centre and live deep in the suburbs. And Other cities' public transport systems are not a patch on London's, due to Thatcher's deregulation which has lead to ever-worsening services for the users and ever-increasing profits for the transport operators. The Oyster card system, which works on all Tubes, all buses, and an increasing number of surface trains, is a pleasure to use. And just compare the prices with public transport elsewhere before you moan about them.

  17. Chris Gregory
    Thumb Up

    @AC 7th Oct 14:55

    Thank you. I am also sick of hearing people complain that transport in London is too expensive. A zone 1 & 2 travel card on Oyster works out at just over £3 a day.

    That gets me to and from work (via train, tube, bus or any combination of those), then when I go out in the evening, well what do you know that is all paid for too and then the weekend comes and I fancy going somewhere, touch in, touch out . . . it really is so easy. AND CHEAP.

    Having lived in Manchester where the transport was disjointed, over priced and makes the Northern Line look highly efficient. Then in the Midlands where my folks live where it is nearly £2 for a single journey.

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