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Judge backs RFID subway thieves

The hacked subway ticket
The hacked subway ticket

A judge has ruled that an academic paper detailing how to ride the Boston subway for free can be aired, despite attempts from the local transit authority to block it.

Three students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology found a way to simulate an RFID ticket, known as a "Charlie Card", with hundreds of free credits on it.

However, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority sued to block the paper being published before the body had had a chance to review the findings first.

Top marks

The students – Zack Anderson, RJ Ryan and Alessandro Chiesa – had said the presentation, for which they received top marks, was not going to reveal the key details that might allow the audience to take advantage of the hacks.

Now the ruling has put the matter to bed, MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas has said he will welcome the chance to sit down with the students and talk about the discovery.

"Now that the court proceedings are behind us, I renew my invitation to the students to sit down with us and discuss their findings," he said.

This case could have an impact on a similar situation with London's Oyster Card system, which has also been subject to hacks by a Dutch university in recent months.