Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

Jesse Brown: Ethical hacker sniffs passport tags in driveby

A few months back I reported on security problems with RFID chips, the radio scannable tech embedded in next-generation Enhanced Driver's Licences. EDLs are in use in B.C. and set to hit Ontario en masse this summer.

The problem was that sensitive info could theoretically be "sniffed" by anyone with a cheap RFID scanner.

Well, it's no longer theoretical.

White Hat hacker Chris Paget hit the streets of San Francisco with a $250 Motorola RFID scanner, an antenna and a laptop. RFIDs are embedded in new U.S. "passport cards," and within 20 minutes, Paget "sniffed" three distinct passport tags. The test was filmed and uploaded to YouTube.

These numbers could be used to clone new, fake passports or simply to track the number's owners.

Besides the technical proof his driveby provides, Paget's demo illustrates another problem with RFIDs that policy-makers should note: despite warnings, cardholders are clearly not taking the precaution of storing their IDs in scan-resistant wallets (i.e. wallets lined with foil).

Unleash a few hundred thousand of these sloppy cards on to the streets of Ontario and watch the province become the identity theft capital of the world.

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.

Comments

Darren Whitworth

Scarborough

Nice work Jesse. You're making it a better place for everyone by doing this research.

Posted February 8, 2009 11:50 PM

Kevin

Ottawa

Jesse. You mentioned scan resistant wallets. When I looked at the State Department website, I found an indication that these passport cards are supposed to be issued with the scan resistant wallets. Any indication of how good the supplied ones are? If they are any good, then the problem found, while an issue, is related to sloppy use of the cards.

Of course, the next question is why these things are RFID enabled in the first place? At the State Department website, in the FAQ, it indicated that the Customs and Border Protection folks wanted to be able to scan them at a distance and have the photos available when the vehicle got to the checkpoint.

Posted February 11, 2009 12:44 PM

Brian L

Toronto

Not a chance in hell I will ever carry an RFID tag, willingly. I will never bow to anti-privacy, totalitarian rule, whether it be government or corporate. I'm not religious, but if anything is the "Mark", this is it.

Posted May 20, 2009 02:51 PM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment

Disclaimer:

Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Story Tools: PRINT | Text Size: S M L XL | REPORT TYPO | SEND YOUR FEEDBACK

World »

Homeland Security chief defends Russia back channel
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly defends an alleged effort by top White House adviser Jared Kushner to create back-channel communications with Russia, describing it as a "good thing" as the Trump administration seeks to quell mounting questions over secret ties to the Kremlin.
Updated Trudeau meets with Pope Francis at Vatican
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has had a private visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican. It's unclear what was said in the meeting, which lasted more than 30 minutes, but Trudeau was expected to discuss reconciliation with indigenous peoples, religious diversity and climate change.
North Korea fires short-range ballistic missile into waters off western Japan
North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that landed in Japan's maritime economic zone Monday, officials say.
more »

Canada »

Analysis Ontario regaining status as economic engine for Canada
Ontario's economy is surging after years of lagging behind the oil-producing provinces.
Updated Medical journal calls for tighter rules on legal pot to protect young
Marijuana legalization will harm the health of youth unless major changes to the proposed law are made to protect their developing brains, a medical journal editorial says.
Analysis Andrew Scheer not the only winner in Conservative leadership race video
Bold changes aren't terribly conservative, which helps explain how Andrew Scheer became leader of the federal Conservative party. But he wasn't the only person who won something in this race.
more »

Politics »

Heat turned up over Liberal promise of lifetime pension for wounded veterans
Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr is facing renewed pressure to deliver on the Liberal government's promise of giving ex-soldiers the "option" of taking a lifetime pension for wounds suffered during service.
Analysis After Maxime Bernier, Andrew Scheer faces stiffer challenge from Justin Trudeau
Polls suggest that Canadians have few strong opinions about Andrew Scheer and that presents the new Conservative leader with both an opportunity and a problem.
Live Andrew Scheer addresses Conservative MPs LIVE video
Freshly minted party leader makes opening remarks to Conservative caucus following his weekend win
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

Father of 3 young Ariana Grande fans posts open letter after Manchester bombing
A father of three Ariana Grande fans is telling the 23-year-old singer to keep making music following the Manchester bombing that happened after her concert last week.
Swedish film The Square wins Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Fest
The Square, a Swedish movie about the curator of a museum filled with grotesquely pretentious conceptual art was awarded the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.
Gregg Allman's death prompts tributes from Cher, Keith Urban, Guns N' Roses' Slash
Cher, Keith Urban and Slash from Guns N' Roses are among the many musicians and entertainers paying tribute to Gregg Allman following news of the Tennessee-born rocker's death at age 69.
more »

Technology & Science »

Human-made chemicals found in higher quantities in deep ocean
CFCs, which were largely phased out of production in 1994, are accumulating deep in the Atlantic Ocean.
Photos Citizens produce stunning images of Jupiter from Juno spacecraft
Here are some of the most stunning images of Jupiter to come from NASA's Juno spacecraft which has been in orbit around the giant of our solar system since July — and they've been processed by ordinary citizens.
Blog Planting trees can't counter carbon emissions: Bob McDonald
Trees absorb carbon dioxide, but we just can't plant enough to absorb all our fossil fuel emissions.
more »

Money »

Leakproof pipeline design created by University of Calgary researchers video
University of Calgary researchers say they've developed technology to prevent spills from new or existing oil and gas pipelines. But what does it cost?
Analysis OPEC can't stop the slow, painful death of the oil economy: Don Pittis
Oil demand continues to rise, but the world economy is on the verge of a green tipping point. And winning means getting ahead of the curve.
Updated West White Rose project in N.L. offshore moving ahead
Husky Energy is moving forward with its West White Rose project, the company announced Monday.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page
 
CBC.ca

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Milos Raonic starts French Open with easy win
Fifth-seeded Milos Raonic is safely through to the second round of the French Open after sweeping past Steve Darcis of Belgium in straight sets.
Damian Warner captures 3rd Hypo Meeting decathlon title video
Canadian decathlete Damian Warner won the Hypo Meeting for the third time in his career as Day 2 of the event wrapped up in Gotzis, Austria on Sunday.
Crosby, Malkin changed fortunes of Pens' franchise
Above all else, the Pittsburgh Penguins are here in the Stanley Cup final chasing history because of two long-time organizational pillars: Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »