Suit Stops Hackers From Showing Subway Flaw

MIT students see bug in electronic fare cards; judge says zip it
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2008 7:28 PM CDT
The DefCon conference, where the three MIT students would have revealed the flaw in th MBTA's system.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Boston’s mass transit system has blocked three MIT students from revealing a flaw in its electronic fare system, the Boston Globe reports. Most Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority customers use the CharlieCard, which allows them to store fares. By cracking it, the students vowed to give attendees at a Las Vegas computer conference “free subway rides for life."

The injunction, granted by a Boston court, is part of a lawsuit aimed at MIT. A computer security expert filed a court statement for MIT defending the students, saying that “prohibition of open discussion of security vulnerabilities greatly harms the ability of researchers to function and has a chilling effect.”