Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008 at 3:57pm

RFID Passports coming in 2008

Posted by Jordan Erickson –

Washington Post comes to tell us that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) US Passports will be available to all citizens wanting to travel abroad. These new electronically-equipped passports will, according to the article, speed up the time it takes to verify supposed terrorists who are traveling, as the embedded RFID chips will identify passengers and initiate background checks during their wait.

Many security-conscious experts are concerned, however. RFID is a very new technology, and its original intent was to track goods – say, a palette of soap going to your local big-box shopping center. The advantage of RFID is that the electronic chips contain unique identification information that can be read by a standard RFID reader device – sometimes up to 40 feet away.

From the article:

“Although the chip is passive and can be read only when a reader pings it, a reader with a strong battery can detect the chip’s signal from as far as 40 feet away, Schwartz said. It can easily be cloned, posing the risk that a hacker could make a duplicate card to fool a border agent, he said. Avi Rubin, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, said that two years ago, he duplicated an RFID chip in his “speedpass” used for buying gas, copied the information onto a laptop and, after extending a radio antenna from the laptop out the car door, was able to buy gas with the cloned RFID chip.”

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