India metro smart cards vulnerable to a ‘free top-up’ bug

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India’s mass rapid transit (or metro) systems rely on commuter smart cards, which are vulnerable to exploitation and allow anyone to effectively travel for free.

Nikhil Kumar Singh, a security researcher, discovered a flaw in the Delhi Metro’s smart card system. According to the researcher, the bug takes advantage of the top-up process, which allows anyone to recharge the metro train’s smart card as many times as they want. Singh told TechCrunch that he discovered the bug after inadvertently receiving a free top-up on his metro smart card at a Delhi Metro station’s add-value machine.

According to Singh, the bug exists because the metro recharge system does not properly verify payments when a traveller credits their metro smart card at a station add-value machine. He claims that because there are no checks, a smart card can be tricked into thinking it was topped up even when the add-value machine says the purchase failed. In this case, a payment is marked as pending and then refunded, effectively allowing the person to ride the metro for free.

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Sreejit Kumar
Sreejit Kumar
Hi, I'm Sreejit Kumar, a journalist with a Master's degree in Journalism. Through my education and professional experience, I have developed a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the truth. As an author for this news website, I am committed to delivering accurate, timely, and engaging stories that inform and entertain our readers.

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India metro smart cards vulnerable to a ‘free top-up’ bug

India’s mass rapid transit (or metro) systems rely on commuter smart cards, which are vulnerable to exploitation and allow anyone to effectively travel for free.

Nikhil Kumar Singh, a security researcher, discovered a flaw in the Delhi Metro’s smart card system. According to the researcher, the bug takes advantage of the top-up process, which allows anyone to recharge the metro train’s smart card as many times as they want. Singh told TechCrunch that he discovered the bug after inadvertently receiving a free top-up on his metro smart card at a Delhi Metro station’s add-value machine.

According to Singh, the bug exists because the metro recharge system does not properly verify payments when a traveller credits their metro smart card at a station add-value machine. He claims that because there are no checks, a smart card can be tricked into thinking it was topped up even when the add-value machine says the purchase failed. In this case, a payment is marked as pending and then refunded, effectively allowing the person to ride the metro for free.

Disclaimer

We strive to uphold the highest ethical standards in all of our reporting and coverage. We StartupNews.fyi want to be transparent with our readers about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise in our work. It’s possible that some of the investors we feature may have connections to other businesses, including competitors or companies we write about. However, we want to assure our readers that this will not have any impact on the integrity or impartiality of our reporting. We are committed to delivering accurate, unbiased news and information to our audience, and we will continue to uphold our ethics and principles in all of our work. Thank you for your trust and support.

Sreejit Kumar
Sreejit Kumar
Hi, I'm Sreejit Kumar, a journalist with a Master's degree in Journalism. Through my education and professional experience, I have developed a keen eye for detail and a passion for uncovering the truth. As an author for this news website, I am committed to delivering accurate, timely, and engaging stories that inform and entertain our readers.

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