Hate to be one of those tin-foil hat types, but the stuff I?ve been reading about blink and other RFID payment
systems (at least the stuff that isn?t corporate PR propaganda) isn?t exactly reassuring. Here?s what
HowStuffWorks has to say about blink:
There have been reports of problems in the testing of contactless RFID credit cards, however, that lead to
additional security concerns. In some cases, if two or more terminals were close together, not only did both
terminals read the card, but the read range of each terminal increased to as much as 30 feet (9 m). Even if the
terminal is operating within the proper range of 4 inches, some people are worried that they could accidentally walk
too close to a terminal and end up paying for someone else?s purchase. The simplest safeguard against this is
probably merchants positioning the terminals in such a way as to make this unlikely.
The worst case scenario involves someone getting their hands on a blink terminal and modifying it to increase the
range. Potentially, someone could set up the terminal at a crowded location and collect the credit-card data of
anyone who came within the terminal?s read range. This probably won?t be a concern at first, since few terminals will
be available, but if the technology matures, blink terminals could fall into the hands of criminals.
So far the security risk seems mostly theoretical, but I?ve already had my identity stolen once and am not very
eager to go through all that again (plus I?d prefer not to have to carry my credit card in a special RFID-blocking
metal sleeve). Should I cut up the card or am I being overly paranoid?