Two German computer hackers have broken a secret code used in the new public transport smart card system (OV chipcard) which is due to be introduced nationwide in the Netherlands next year, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.
The paper says that now the code has been broken, passengers may be able to travel for free and the confidentiality of private information could be at risk.
The hackers presented the results of their efforts at a hackers convention in Berlin at the end of last year.
The Milfare chip was developed by Dutch company NXP, which used to be part of the Philips group, the paper says.
Translink Systems, the company developing the transport smart card, said it is too soon to say if security has been seriously breached, adding that the system has other security measures incorporated into it.
Ron Gonggrijp, described by the Volkskrant as the Netherlands’ best known hacker, dismissed Translink’s claims. ‘Producers always say that,’ he told the paper. ‘NXP has made an unbelievable mistake. It’s technology is ridiculously easy to crack.’
Gonggrijp led to the campaign against voting computers which led to their use being suspended on privacy grounds.
The smart card is due to replace all paper tickets on buses, trains and trams and is currently undergoing trials in Rotterdam. But privacy groups have criticised the fact that people’s movements can be tracked and recorded.
MPs have called on junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga, who is charge of the project, to explain developments in parliament. In particular, MPs want to know if the money already spend on the transport card has been wasted, Christian Democrat MP Jan Mastwijk told news agency ANP.
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