Identity Theft has become a real threat over the past decade, and recently it has only gotten worse. Case in point, new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips are now implanted in new Credit Cards and all U.S. Passports. Although this technology has its benefits, there is one major problem; people can skim your information without even being detected.
The new RFID chips send out a continual signal even when it is in your wallet or purse. This makes it easy for criminals to steal your information with skimming machines.
There are even videos on YouTube (one below) that shows how easy it is to skim another person’s information from their pocket completely undetected. The devices are so small and compact, that they can fit into any regular sized bag/briefcase. The person may be walking next to you on the street and he may be skimming your credit card information. This is a real threat that many technology writers have indicated in a multitude of articles ranging from the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, scores of blog sites and Magazines just to name a few.
The Research & Development Team at Mobile Edge discovered this threat and came up with a simple solution, Mobile Edge I.D. Sentry Wallets. The RFID blocking wallets come in two sizes, one for credit cards or smart cards, and another for Passports. Both RFID blocking wallets are lined with an alloy shielding material, protecting your smart card or Passport from would-be thieves.
Don’t take my word for it; research this for yourself on the Internet. Here is one article I found recently by John Cox, writer for Network World. To read the full article click on the link below.
UPDATE: Hacker trio finds a way to crack popular smartcard in minutes
People are starting to wake up to the fact that some RFID-enabled smartcards now can be far more easily, and cheaply, cracked than ever before, as a trio of young computer experts recently showed.
These are a particular type of processor-embedded cards. The actual decryption work by the researchers was done on the widely deployed Mifare Classic wireless smartcard, now manufactured by a Philips spinoff, NXP Semiconductors. It’s deployed for contactless payments, such as the nationwide public transit ticketing system in The Netherlands. If decrypted, the card could be rewritten to access additional services, certain limited personal data such as a birth date could be recovered, and the dollar value of the card’s electronic “purse” could be changed.
A recently de-classified study, by a nonprofit Dutch research group, of the claims by the decryption researchers concluded that it is likely they will succeed in recovering the entire encryption algorithm, and eventually build a key cracker. But that will take about six months, the study estimates, and concludes that there are no immediate risks to the Dutch system or its users, and that additional, existing security mechanisms may offer adequate protection.
That MiFare Classic card is the basis of such new systems as the Dutch OV-Chipkaart, being rolled out in The Netherlands as part of a multibillion-dollar nationwide transportation ticketing system, and the so-called CharlieCard, used in the Boston, Mass., subway system. The decryption breach triggered a firestorm of controversy in The Netherlands.
The card uses a proprietary encryption scheme, known as the Crypto1 algorithm, to scramble the data exchanged between the card and the card reader, and to securely authenticate the card and reader to each other.
The newest attack was discussed but not (as previously reported) fully demonstrated at the 24th Congress of the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin last December. Interest in the study has been spreading steadily from the arcane world of security hackers. In a March 6 statement, NXP says it “has established an open dialogue with the researchers and is evaluating possible attacks and countermeasures that could be taken in an overall systems to prevent those.”
One of the researchers is Karsten Nohl, a graduate student in the University of Virginia’s Computer Science Department, in Charlottesville. The other two are Henryk Plotz and “Starbug.” At the Chaos conference, Nohl and Plotz gave some details of an apparently practical, effective way to break the Mifare encryption key, confirming what many cryptographers had suspected. Nohl has not yet responded to several questions sent via e-mail.
The team used an inexpensive RFID reader to collect encrypted data, and then reverse-engineered the chip to figure out the encryption key to decipher that data. They examined the chip under an optical microscope, used micro-polishing sandpaper to remove a few microns of the surface at a time, photographing each of the five layers of circuitry. Nohl wrote his own optical recognition software to refine and clarify the images, and then patiently worked through the arrangement of the logic gates to deduce the encryption algorithm, a task made possible by the fact that the Mifare Classic relies on a secret key of no more than 48 bits.
To read the full article click here.