Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

8/3/2010
04:42 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Researcher Reads RFID Tag From Hundreds Of Feet Away

Demonstration raises privacy and security concerns with RFID EPC Class 1 Generation 2 used in some passport cards, inventory tags, and driver's licenses

A hardware hacker has likely broken the world's record for reading an RFID tag from the farthest distance -- 217 feet.

Click here for more of Dark Reading's Black Hat articles.

Security researcher Chris Paget demonstrated his homegrown RFID-reading equipment at both Black Hat USA and Defcon 18, last week in Las Vegas, to illustrate the lack of security in the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Class 1 Generation 2 RFID technology used in U.S. passport cards (not books), enhanced driver's licenses, and in clothing and other items at Walmart for inventory purposes, for instance.

Paget -- who last week at Defcon 18 also successfully faked several attendees' cell phones into connecting to his phony GSM base station during a live demonstration to illustrate security issues with GSM technology -- was able to find the RFID card from a balcony 30 stories up at the Riviera Hotel in a demo for reporters during Defcon. But his hardware blew after he attempted to boost the signal, so he was unable to show the full tag-reading step as a Defcon volunteer held up the tag from the road below.

"I've read it from 217 feet," Paget said, but his homemade RFID-reading system -- which included two large antennas, ham radio equipment, software radio peripheral, and a slimmed down Linux-based laptop -- is capable of reading the EPC Class 1 Gen2 RFID cards at much greater distances.

Paget plans to get the Guinness Book of World Records to confirm his feat, which beats records of 69 feet set by Flexilis at Defcon 13 and 65 meters by ThingMagic at another venue.

The RFID technology here isn't encrypted, he notes, nor does it contain any access control features. "I could tell what color underwear you were wearing" if you hadn't taken the tag off from Walmart, he says.

Paget says his research was all about proving that these RFID tags could be read from afar and how it poses a serious privacy risk for users. "It's inappropriate to put this technology in ID cards,"' he said. His research shows how people's information could be surreptitiously read from afar while they carry their passport cards, for example.

Among the information that could be read from the tags, he said, is the person's name and state of residence via a unique identification number used in the tags. The tag's prefix identifies the user by his home state, he said, information that could be used to scam tourists. And tag-reading could be used by bad guys for reconnaissance prior to robberies or other crimes in a neighborhood.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19037
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
ext4_empty_dir in fs/ext4/namei.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.12 allows a NULL pointer dereference because ext4_read_dirblock(inode,0,DIRENT_HTREE) can be zero.
CVE-2019-19036
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
btrfs_root_node in fs/btrfs/ctree.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.12 allows a NULL pointer dereference because rcu_dereference(root->node) can be zero.
CVE-2019-19039
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
__btrfs_free_extent in fs/btrfs/extent-tree.c in the Linux kernel through 5.3.12 calls btrfs_print_leaf in a certain ENOENT case, which allows local users to obtain potentially sensitive information about register values via the dmesg program.
CVE-2019-6852
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
A CWE-200: Information Exposure vulnerability exists in Modicon Controllers (M340 CPUs, M340 communication modules, Premium CPUs, Premium communication modules, Quantum CPUs, Quantum communication modules - see security notification for specific versions), which could cause the disclosure of FTP har...
CVE-2019-6853
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-20
A CWE-79: Failure to Preserve Web Page Structure vulnerability exists in Andover Continuum (models 9680, 5740 and 5720, bCX4040, bCX9640, 9900, 9940, 9924 and 9702) , which could enable a successful Cross-site Scripting (XSS attack) when using the products web server.