RFID Passports Secretly Copied

February 2, 2009 – 9:47 PM

If you have an RFID-lojacked passport but don’t keep it in a faraday cage wallet, this video of Chris Paget’s war-driving exploits—plucking information off them from afar—should make you think real hard about it.

Cruising through downtown San Francisco in his car with a $250 homebrew RFID reader setup consisting of a Symbol XR400 RFID reader and a Motorola AN400 patch antenna stuck to the side of his Volvo, he snagged the info off of two passports in just 20 minutes. The point, he says, is “mainly to defeat the argument that you can’t do it in the real world, that there’s no real-world attack here, that it’s all theoretical.” The range of his gear is about 30 feet, which is plenty of clearance.

He plans to release the source code of his software next month—not the first time he’s tried to publicly discuss his methods and the dangers of RFID embedded in personal IDs. It also won’t be the first time the government denies it’s really an issue, either.



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