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RFID tags hacked for publicity

Gareth Edwards
08.10.04
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Forbes reports on a German security consultant who's worked out how to hack the RFID tags on products using a PDA with a tag reader and change the price information that'll be read at the cash register. This sounds like another example of publicity-seeking under the guise of pointing out a legitimate security issue; as is pointed out later in the article, the only encryption available for RFID so far is 8-bit, which is precisely why it's not being used to tag products in shops at the moment (that, and the fact that the cost per tag is still too high). Another flaw in the hack is that the approach involves replacing the information in one product tag with the data from a cheaper one, so unless the checkout's automated someone is going to notice when that whole fillet of beef tries to claim that it's a carton of milk.

[Via the ITU Strategy and Policy Unit Newslog]

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