Martin Holst Swende maintains a free/open tool for testing software that uses the (notoriously flawed) Iclass Software, which is used by Inside Secure for its RFID-based access systems.
Now, Inside has sent Swende a legal threat, asserting that it holds a patent on the (again, flawed) Iclass algorithms, and that by implementing them in a test suite (and embarrassing Inside), he has violated the patent. They want him to erase the evidence of their incompetence.
In the world of “internet security”, where the sky is falling every other month, there is hardly much controversy any longer about full-disclosure email lists, exploitation frameworks and reverse engineering. Nowadays vendors, institutes and organizations offers bug bounties and competitions, and there is a high level of transparency regarding flaws and fixes, using a common rating system for vulnerabilities.
In “internet security”, all parties know that systems suffer from vulnerabilities, and if vendors are being forthcoming about vulnerabilities, users can take necessary steps to protect themselves from unnecessary risks. Controversy nowadays is generated by the sale of 0-days to private (and government) actors, since users are left as sitting ducks to those with enough money and resources.
In “internet security”, a vendor is given credit not for providing fail-safe invulnerable systems, but for responsible, accurate and timely security patches and advisories.
By contrast, the “physical security” scene appears about a decade behind, and I don’t believe this to benefit neither the customers, nor, in the long run, the vendors themselves.
Legal woes [Martin Holst Swende]
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