Your Privacy Can Be Compromised With the Convenient New RFID Cards

Radio frequency ID (RFID) tags may soon replace barcodes as a means for labeling all sorts of things, like the clothes you wear and the food you eat, both of which pose onerous, troubling risks to your health, privacy and security.

An interesting piece in this month's Wired (free text link below) demonstrates some simple reasons, through various electronic work-arounds, why you shouldn't rely on RFID tags to keep you safe.

The examples are simple yet elegant ways hackers can manipulate, store or destroy data electronically, ranging from the books you check out at a public library to getting into your office every morning via a "secure" electronic door pass.

Probably, the most publicized use of RFID tags was one of the earliest in America by ExxonMobil almost a decade ago: The SpeedPass device that allows customers to swipe a tag attached to their key chains at gas pumps to pay for fuel without a credit card. Sounds pretty easy and convenient, until you realize a persistent hacker can break security codes, using a cheap laptop and a broadcasting device, that allows the hacker to pump free gas in about 30 minutes.

Wired Magazine Vol. 14, No. 5, May 2006

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