Milking the Digital Cash Cow

Milking the Digital Cash Cow was a great and very interessting presentation from Timo Kasper. He showed a way how he was able to manipulate a RFID based Cafeteria Cashcard to load money on it. Technically the presentation was on a high and complex level, but the presentation style was awesome and very fascinating! 🙂


Contactless smartcards have become widespread for applications such as ticketing, access control, identification and payments. Side-channel analysis (SCA) is a powerful type of passive implementation attack that enables to extract the secret keys of cryptographic devices. At the example of NXP’s Mifare DESfire MF3ICD40 smartcards we demonstrate that SCA attacks can be applied to cryptographic RFID devices: By exploiting the electro-magnetic information leakage of the cards, its cryptographic keys are revealed.

We introduce our open-source tools for analyzing contactless smartcards, i.e., an ISO 14443 RFID reader ( and the card emulator Chameleon ( We then present the probably worst realization of a commercial contactless payment system ever and detail on various real-world attacks on this widespread (in Germany) system, e.g., how to ‚milk the digital cash cow‘ by modifying the credit balance and convert zeros and ones into real money.

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