LAS VEGAS--Dutch journalist Brenno de Winter has covered Black Hat and Defcon for years, but he won't be at the security conferences here this week and is hindered in his work after being targeted by Dutch transportation companies for publicizing weaknesses in the new transit chip card.
De Winter, a freelancer who covers security for IDG affiliate WebWereld and other Dutch media outlets, has written articles about the problems with the OV transit chip card and appeared on numerous TV and radio stations in January demonstrating how the OV transit payment system could be defrauded by using software tools available on the Internet. Introduction of the card was temporarily postponed, and the Dutch Parliament skipped a debate on the war in Afghanistan to discuss the matter, he told CNET in a call today.
Trans Link Systems--formed by the five largest Dutch public transportation companies to create a single payment system, dubbed the OV chip card--filed a criminal complaint against de Winter with the public prosecutor's office and in June police questioned him for four hours, he said. No official charges have been filed, but de Winter said he has learned that he potentially faces charges of manipulating a debit card, having the tools to do so, and hacking a system, which could bring a six-year prison sentence.
A Trans Link spokesman said de Winter was questioned as part of an investigation into fraud. "Trans Link Systems filed a criminal complaint with the public prosecutor's office against fraud with OV-chipcards. Not against de Winter," spokeswoman Anita Hilhorst said in an e-mail statement. "The public prosecutor has investigated this fraud and because of this investigation the police questioned de Winter."… Read more