At a presentation entitled "Mifare - Little security, despite obscurity" at the 24C3, Henryk Ploetz and Karsten Nohl presented about their revelations of the proprietary Philips MiFARE classic RFID system.
As everyone in the IT industry suspected, the level of security provided by such a cheap, low-gate and completely undisclosed system is in fact very limited.
I'm particularly proud that this security research is exactly what Milosch and me originally wanted to enable by creating the OpenPCD and OpenPICC project. We wanted to put easier accessible and open, documented tools for low-level access to 13.56MHz RFID systems.
With a bit of luck, at some point in 2008, it should once again become clear that security by obscurity doesn't work. This lesson seems to be well-understood in the Internet world, but apparently has little penetration into the RFID sphere so far. There are still many proprietary systems whose security relies solely on the secrecy. Once a single person reveals that secret, the system is broken.
I can only hardly imagine the amount of economic damage imposed by the perpetrators of such systems. There are a couple of hundred million MiFARE classic tags on this planet, particularly in public transport ticketing and access control. The vendors of such systems should be blamed for their false claims. And anyone who bought it should be blamed for their blind belief in the claims of profit-oriented corporations without any independent validation or verification.