[ISN] Passport RFIDs cloned wholesale by $250 eBay auction spree

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 01:42:35 -0600 (CST)

By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
2nd February 2009

Using inexpensive off-the-shelf components, an information security 
expert has built a mobile platform that can clone large numbers of the 
unique electronic identifiers used in US passport cards and next 
generation drivers licenses.

The $250 proof-of-concept device - which researcher Chris Paget built in 
his spare time - operates out of his vehicle and contains everything 
needed to sniff and then clone RFID, or radio frequency identification, 
tags. During a recent 20-minute drive in downtown San Francisco, it 
successfully copied the RFID tags of two passport cards without the 
knowledge of their owners.

Paget's contraption builds off the work of researchers at RSA and the 
University of Washington, which last year found weaknesses in US 
passport cards and so-called EDLs, or enhanced drivers' licenses. So 
far, about 750,000 people have applied for the passport cards, which are 
credit card-sized alternatives to passports for travel between the US 
and Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. EDLs are currently 
offered by Washington and New York states.

"It's one thing to say that something can be done, it's another thing 
completely to actually do it," Paget said in explaining why he built the 
device. "It's 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 


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Received on Mon Feb 02 2009 - 23:42:35 PST

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