Oyster Card Gets Cracked

By Amanda Last edited 132 months ago
Oyster Card Gets Cracked

As far as fare cards go, the tap-in-tap-out system of Oyster is pretty simple and, barring someone nicking it on its way back to your pocket, pretty secure. But that latter thought might be disproven as a pair of German researchers are now claiming they've hacked the Oyster system. Karsten Nohl and Heinryk Platz say they sorted out how to clone the Dutch manufactured chips used in Oyster and similar cards internationally in December. According to the academic paper the duo published, all one needs is a home computer and a card reader.

Meanwhile, if they cracked the system in December and have only just released this information now, what have they been doing with this knowledge for the last three months? Long, meandering rides atop double deckers? Journeys to the mysterious ends of lines? The pair say they aren't trying to help hackers so much as point out flaws in the system. TfL has said that Oyster is plenty protected with additional security measures.

Londonist, of course, does not condone fare evasion, but you have to admit that hacking Oyster cards is a bit more creative than the standard method seen on bendy buses.

Photo by Steve W via the Londonist Flickrpool.

Last Updated 18 March 2008