Charlie Gets Hacked

1204818094Until now, we thought the greatest innovation in T fare technology was the CharlieCard mitten. But a University of Virginia student says he cracked the security code of the chips used in the MBTA’s plastic cards. All it took was $1,000 of equipment and some know-how to figure it out.

The team warns that their breakthrough could be used to make counterfeit copies of the cards, which are used by commuters to pay for MBTA bus and subway rides.”You could have thousands of cards and sell them in the underworld,” said David Evans, an associate professor of computer science at the university, and [student Karsten] Nohl’s adviser.

As you can imagine, the debt-strapped MBTA is thrilled by this news.

Joe Pesaturo, an MBTA spokesman, yesterday said: “It is MBTA policy not to discuss the security measures around its smart card technology. If this group is well intentioned and has information it wants to share with the MBTA, then MBTA staff would be happy to review the information.”

Hope you guys didn’t throw away all those old tokens. Once those instructions get leaked to a blogger, you might need them.