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RFID Security Breeched

Filed in:Noteworthy

RFID Security Breeched

February 18th, 2005  · stk

As if we didn't have enough to worry about with identity theft, stolen credit cards, bad checks, second-hand smoke and an improper diet. Add something else to the list.

If you're one of the 150 million that have RFID (or "Radio Frequency ID") as an anti-theft deterrent ... or one of the 6 million with an RFID key fob used to wirelessly pay for gasoline ... then you should know that RFID encryption technology has been hacked.

Some grad students at John Hopkins University in Maryland, discovered that RFID can be thwarted using easily accessible, low-cost technology. With an inexpensive electronic device (<$200 US), criminals could wirelessly 'probe' your RFID car key or gas payment tag, in close proximity, then use the information to determine the unique cryptographic key. Knowing the encryption key, the thieves could circumvent the auto theft prevention system on your late model car or charge their own gas purchases to your account.

More details are contained in the John Hopkins news release.

It is Worth Noting: Credit card numbers are NOT stored in gasoline RFID fobs. Also, keyless remote controls that lock and unlock car doors do not use RFID technology. No reports of such RFID theft have been noted - to date.

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Updated: 1-Jun-2005
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