It ‘ers who cracked the public transport chip card receive community service and must compensate damage

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Two men who regularly traveled with hacked public transport chip cards were given a community service order of 120 hours. The two were also ordered to pay damages of 15,000 euros. That is the amount that the transport companies lost because of their actions.

The 33-year-old men from Utrecht were convicted by a judge on Wednesday afternoon. The two were in court for hacking the public transport chip card, and then making free train journeys with it.

The pair traveled for a year and a half between their hometown of Utrecht and their work in Alkmaar. They started doing so in May 2016 and were arrested in November 2017. In that year and a half they traveled with public transport chip cards that they had hacked. They said they started doing this in 2015. The men would hack the card ‘out of interest’, after they heard how bad its security would be.

During the hearing, the suspects said they were interested in the technology and the underlying systems of the chip card. This would mainly have happened because of news reports that showed that the cards were easy to hack. One of the men used existing software and continued to develop it. According to the judge, this indicates that the two wanted more than just doing some research. “They continued to squat,” the judge said.

In total, the two IT professionals made quite a few free trips, saving them 15,000 euros. They have to pay that money as compensation. That is less than the Public Prosecution Service previously demanded. The Public Prosecution Service wanted to see 33,000 euros, but according to the judge, transporter cooperation Translink Systems could not properly substantiate what that amount was based on.

Both men will also receive 120 hours of community service. That is in accordance with the requirement of the Public Prosecution Service. During the hearing, the lawyer for the two asked for a suspended sentence, but the judge did not grant it. “The suspects have confessed that they very regularly topped up the cracked cards illegally,” the court writes. “It can be deduced from this that it was indeed a matter of financial advantage.” A suspended sentence would therefore be ‘disproportionate to the seriousness of the facts’.

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