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Nokia's 3220 can read RFID tags
Concerns over security is as high as ever

It appears as though the long-awaited RFID passports that the US government has been talking about is about to arrive. According to a report on CNNMoney, the US government will begin issuing RFID-enabled passports beginning this August. The new passports will have integrated radio frequency identification tags that will allow security officials at airports to verify the validity of the information printed on the passport.

DailyTech previously reported that the US government was conducting localized testing of the new passports earlier this year. Although the technology was originally designed to increase security and prevent counterfeits, many industry expects and analysts say that because of the nature of RFID technology, the new passports will be prone to "skimming". According to some reports, people with the right technology and malicious intent, will be able to read information off the passports just by being near an RFID passport holder.

Despite the fears, officials say that the new passports are highly secure and are based on proven technology used in a wide variety of scenarios. RFID chips and cards are used at many companies to authorize employee entry into restricted areas. The US State Department recently added several new features to the passports citing concerns from industry experts. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for passport services Frank Moss says that concerns are overstated and "we wouldn't be issuing the passports to ourselves if we didn't think they're secure."

Still, concerns are there. Many believe that it will be easy for the new passports to be cracked. In a previous DailyTech report, the new RFID Dutch passport was cracked within 2 hours of being used. Some say that RFID reading devices are also easy to come by and are inexpensive. Nokia actually produces cell phones that are capable of reading RFID chips -- the Nokia 3220 is one of them.


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Trust us...we're from the government
By masher2 (blog) on 7/14/2006 12:09:42 PM , Rating: 3
Even assuming these passports are as secure as the government claims (which I think is an unwarranted assumption), this still means anyone with one of these is going to be walking around with a beacon in their pocket, screaming "I'm an American".

If I ever have to visit the Middle East again with one of these, I'll be wrapping the thing in tinfoil before I step outside the airport.




RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By Pythias on 7/14/2006 12:24:56 PM , Rating: 3
You go anywhere in the world, not just the middle east, and youre a target. Another shocker: It was that way even when a democrat was president!


RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By Goty on 7/14/2006 12:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
First of all, you pretty much scream, "I'm an American!" no matter where you go regardless, and anyone looking at your passport is probably going to notice anyways.

The whole security issue is blown entirely out of proportion, I think. RFID tags don't "transmit" any signal, they require and outside RF signal in order to be read, and even then you have to be fairly close in order to read it. Someone would have to be uncomfortably close in order to be any kind of a risk.


RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By OrSin on 7/14/2006 12:43:36 PM , Rating: 2
You really think people need to see a passport to pick out an American. WE stand out in most countries. Parts of the world hated us with democratic pres. Even more hated us with a Republican pres. But with this Bush everyone hates us. Maybe after he gets out of office I can vote republican again.


By masher2 (blog) on 7/14/2006 2:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
> " Parts of the world hated us with democratic pres...But with this Bush everyone hates us..."

Actually, during the Yugoslav war (under Clinton, if you recall) relations with Russia, Ukraine, China, and several other nations were far worse than during the Iraq war, or at present. Most people in the US forget that the UN didn't approve that military venture either...and after we invaded, there were thousands of Russians rioting in the streets for action to stop us. And after we bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade-- anti-US riots in China as well.


RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By masher2 (blog) on 7/14/2006 1:57:11 PM , Rating: 2
> "First of all, you pretty much scream, "I'm an American!" no matter where you go regardless"

On the contrary, I've lived or worked in several foreign nations, and visited dozens of others. Except in a few special cases, I'm never distinguished as a US citizen.

Believe it or not, Americans don't have a distinctive smell or physical appearance. Now, if your entire experience in foreign nations is in tourist areas, on a bus full of other Americans-- I can see how you might form that opinion.

> "anyone looking at your passport is probably going to notice anyways..."

The point is, you don't have to LOOK at an RFID passport to read it. Its a litle passive transmitting beacon. It transmits back a portion of a signal it receives.

> "you have to be fairly close in order to read it"

Ranges of 100 meters are trivial to implement. And even a 10 meter range is a risk factor, for someone moving often through large crowds in foreign nations.

If you remember, Bluetooth was supposed to be limited to a few meters also...and we've already seen Bluetooth attacks from several *miles* away.


RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By Goty on 7/14/2006 3:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
I understand your points, and agree with most of them, but I think you misinterpreted what I was trying to say. In response to your first point, I realize that not everyone is the "typical American traveler", but most are (hence the terminology).

I also realize that you don't have to look at an RFID tag to read it, I just meant that your passport being a way to identify your nationality isn't really something outrageous or revolutionary, and that someone would still pretty much have to obtain your passport in order to read the tag, which brings me to the last point.

You could design an RFID tag to only rebroadcast a small(er) amount of the signal it receives or even limit the maximum output of such a signal so that the effective rang would only be inches.


RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By masher2 (blog) on 7/14/2006 3:26:04 PM , Rating: 3
> "You could design an RFID tag to only rebroadcast a small(er) amount of the signal it receives or even limit the maximum output of such a signal so that the effective rang would only be inches. "

It doesn't work like this. The devices are passive; the power they transmit is based on the amount of power they receive. Even were the US to use an active RFID beacon (which they aren't) you're still up against the basic laws of physics. There is no way one can design a fixed range into an electromagnetic tranmission.


RE: Trust us...we're from the government
By Wwhat on 7/15/2006 5:54:31 AM , Rating: 2
I read on CNN I think it was long long ago when these issues came up that they were going to weave copper in the cover of the passport so that you must open it to have it read, I wonder what ever happened to that plan.


By TomZ on 7/15/2006 9:03:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I read on CNN I think it was long long ago when these issues came up that they were going to weave copper in the cover of the passport so that you must open it to have it read, I wonder what ever happened to that plan.

That was an older approach considered by the government. In response to public outrage over security, the government decided to implement Basic Access Control instead:

Basic Access Control, or BAC, works this way: The data on a passport would be stored on an RFID chip in the passport's back folder, but the data would be locked and unavailable to any reader that doesn't know a secret key or password to unlock the data. To obtain the key, a passport officer would need to physically scan the machine-readable text that's printed on the passport page beneath the photo (this usually includes date of birth, passport number and expiration date). The reader would then hash the data to create a unique key that could be used to authenticate the reader and unlock the data on the RFID chip.

Full article at http://www.wired.com/news/privacy/0,1848,67333,00....


The facts speak for themselves
By crystal clear on 7/15/2006 6:57:50 AM , Rating: 1
For the last 40 years, the 2 most sought after item for
forgers/criminals/spy agencies/etc were the US dollar &
ofcourse the US passport.
Put in the best of technology into them,soon comes the so
called work around that forgers use to continue their
profession.The same applies to credit cards.
As for US passport holder in the middle east-the best solution is avoid those areas as far as possible.There are
plenty of US citizens of Arab origins/names that could go instead of you,without any problems whatsoever.
With the exception of Israel no Arab country is safe for
US citizens-with the exception of those of Arab origins/
names.
Thats the Facts so accept it.




RE: The facts speak for themselves
By Burning Bridges on 7/15/2006 9:36:02 AM , Rating: 2
*falls over laughing at the paranoia and sillyness*


By interl0per on 7/15/2006 7:34:40 PM , Rating: 2
well you may be laughing but i have quietly realized that i will probably never be leaving the North American continent again in my life.

rfid passports are a non issue to me that i may freely make light of.
have at it.


RE: The facts speak for themselves
By crystal clear on 7/15/2006 10:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Oh How I wish you were in NY in the world trade centre
you would have got a taste of LIFE & DEATH (9/11).
Even there ,we had many who thought like you.Till.........

Burning Bodies & not BURNING BRIDGES.


RE: The facts speak for themselves
By Wwhat on 7/15/2006 10:26:31 PM , Rating: 2
ROFL


RE: The facts speak for themselves
By Wwhat on 7/15/2006 10:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
At your failed attempt at dramatics


Introducing.....
By AMDfreak on 7/14/2006 12:22:43 PM , Rating: 1
I am now introducing my new line of Tin Foil Passport Wallets. Pre-order now and get a matching hat!




RE: Introducing.....
By IMPoor on 7/14/2006 1:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
I know your being sarcastic but on a series note tin foil would most likely work since it is an electronic. But for a permanant solution I bet 5 seconds in the microwave would kill the device without harming your passport. There is probably several other methods also.


RE: Introducing.....
By Trisped on 7/14/2006 2:10:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you damage the RFID chip so it doesn't work then they probably won't accept your passport.

I thought there was even a rule that you couldn't put a shield on it so officials could check it without stopping you.


RE: Introducing.....
By TomZ on 7/14/2006 3:47:27 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If you damage the RFID chip so it doesn't work then they probably won't accept your passport.

The failure of the RFID component doesn't necessarily have to render the passport invalid. This would only be a policy decision. For example, if my credit card's magnetic stripe stops working, the store will just type in the credit card number instead. I don't see why the same type of situation wouldn't apply for RFID passports.


Any Advantages to RFID?
By Triangle Man on 7/14/2006 2:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
There seems to be only one advantage, RFID can be read wirelessly. I don't understand what advantage that would be, as only the US and Dutch want the technology, other countries probably couldn't be bothered.
It seems like we are jumping on the bandwagon too early, and should take a backseat and wait for somewhere more technologically integrated (Japan/South Korea) to fully implement RFID before doing our own version. And the US Bureaucracy isn't world renowned for their technological skills.




RE: Any Advantages to RFID?
By desiplaya4life on 7/14/2006 2:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
govt these days.

its going to hell i tell you.


RFID is soo hackable. its really a lame idea to use this tech.




RE: Any Advantages to RFID?
By TomZ on 7/14/2006 2:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
I agree - this is a solution looking for a problem. When inspecting passports, they have to be handled anyway, so the efficiency difference between RFID and, say a barcode, is trivial.


RE: Any Advantages to RFID?
By interl0per on 7/14/2006 3:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
it will squirt an info packet 'personna non grata.'

the standing of Americans the world over.

think it will expedite your passage? HA!
the things will drop a few bits and send the unfortunate holder to third world jail.
it's the mark of the beast!

what will be the prevailing info, the written or transmitted? if the machine breaks down will all transit stop?

this technology would be better used inplanted in gitmo detainees.


Soooo....
By Burning Bridges on 7/15/2006 5:59:27 AM , Rating: 2
Anyone else happy not to be a US citizen now?

I know I am :-)




RE: Soooo....
By Wwhat on 7/15/2006 10:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
..Or dutch.
I'm envious now, bastard :|


RE: Soooo....
By TheLiberalTruth on 7/15/2006 2:51:16 PM , Rating: 3
I've been dismayed by my country's ignorance since November 2000 and ashamed to be American since March 2003.

How can the so-called greatest nation in the world elect someone who, at best, belongs in a group home, and then follow the fool to war?

This RFID crap is nothing compared to the idiocy this country has been oozing since w took over.


RE: Soooo....
By TomZ on 7/15/06, Rating: 0
RE: Soooo....
By ttowntom3 on 7/15/2006 5:22:50 PM , Rating: 1
> "How can the so-called greatest nation in the world elect someone who, at best, belongs in a group home, and then follow the fool..."

Probably because too many voters realized their only alternative was to elect an even larger fool?


What's the point?
By CSMR on 7/15/2006 10:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
What's the point in RFID? Why do passports need to be read from a distance?




RE: What's the point?
By interl0per on 7/16/2006 8:41:33 AM , Rating: 2
a very good question.

Since they will only be issued to Americans it seems clear that they will only be scanned at American ports of entry/exit. They will probably not be read much elsewhere, at least initially.
Does this imply that Americans are the real suspects?
Surely not.

The announcements of implementation actually don't seem to even attempt to claim a benefit to the holder. So we can assume it's being done to protect Americans.
To verify 'Americaness.'

We can assume that we will never know the actual data transmitted or ever have any access to it. We probably will not be privy to the full extent of the capabilities either.
(data capacity, rewrite access etc..)

So the point must be to protect Americans and establish precident for the world to follow.

The technology will be very helpful when passports are required for interstate travel.

Whatever the point is, it's clear that it's an indicator that borders are solidifying and not opening.
The requirement of a passport for transit to/from Canada is a harbinger.

Oh well... paranoia verified is called a 'threat.'
We will probably be reminded ad infinitum to legitimize measures like this.


RE: What's the point?
By TomZ on 7/17/2006 12:07:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Since they will only be issued to Americans it seems clear that they will only be scanned at American ports of entry/exit

What makes you think they would not be adopted by other nations as well? You might see America as being the first.


RE: What's the point?
By Wwhat on 7/16/2006 2:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
It's part of "the new world order" in which we are all slaves/subjects that need to be tracked 24/7 and shoving RFID's on people is a good way, this RFID will also make them able to scan if you visited an area, crossed a road, etc. once you are fooled into carrying it all the time, next they will btw probably put them in driverlicences etc.
In this country big supermarketchains are trying to sneak them into discountcards too, marketing and slavery, we are cattle to them.


what good comes of this?
By IMPoor on 7/14/2006 1:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
Is it just me or do you guys see a benefit to this. Let me first say I have nothing to hide. Everytime I go through customs there area number of different things that can happen. They look at your passport, scan it, stamp it, ask questions and then finally let you pass. How is the tags in passports supposed to help this? I can pretty much guarentee that I will still need to show the passport, get stamps, answer questions. Otherwise whats to stop a criminal from using a stolen passport to hide his identity. Or me switching passports with a friend. Of course I would never have a need to do this personally but it could happen.

If they told me that it will allow me to breeze through customs I would be all for it but in reality the honor system is not good enough. All I see this doing is bad. We know need to spend another billion in tax dollars/passport fees to re-equip customs. And people with a cheap Radio Shack reader can scan information and tell who I am (as the artical says it could be up to 100+ feet away although that distance may not be possible with a cheapo reader). And lets be honest, nothing is hackproof these days. The more you brag that you are hackproof the more you invite hackers to make a name for themselves.




RE: what good comes of this?
By Wwhat on 7/14/2006 8:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
The RFID holds a digital copy of your biometric data, fingerprints/facescan, this makes the passport hard to forge is the idea seeing it's very much tied to the chip and the chip to the person.
I'm planning to have a microwave 'accident' too btw.
That doesn't change the fact that the spooks have my face and fingerprint in their databases of course, and can use facialrecognition with the millions of cameras out there to track me, god dammit.


Heh
By Soviet Robot on 7/14/2006 4:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like I won't be traveling out of the country anymore.




RE: Heh
By deeznuts on 7/14/2006 6:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Damn should I hurry and get one now, or will I get one of the new ones. I knew I shoulda renewed it earlier.


i know.
By desiplaya4life on 7/14/2006 7:15:29 PM , Rating: 2
and if the hackers can hack and steal an $80,000 RFID keyless car in matter of 3-4hours with a laptop, how hard will it be to hack a passport?



american government is going to shit. in every aspect not just 'tech sector' area.




RE: i know.
By Wwhat on 7/14/2006 8:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
Dutch hackers at a hackerparty already did it, they scanned rfid'ed ID's and cracked it and had all the info to forge identities, piece of cake apparantly..


Yeah, trust you
By Trisped on 7/14/2006 2:07:02 PM , Rating: 3
You are going to put an ID Chip into my passport so anyone with an RF reader can ease drop on it and get a copy of all my personal information. Then what, they can impersonate me, they can use it to scare me into doing what they want. Who knows what all they can do, but I know that I don't want some con artist ruining my vacation or life because of stupid government regulations.

RFID are not safe for critical info.




:rolleyes:
By Wwhat on 7/14/2006 8:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
In the dutch news they say the new biometric RFID passports have new requirements for the passphoto, you must 'have your mouth closed' and 'have a neutral look on your face' andsoforth, in short the robots want us now to mimic robots.
Who's in charge again?




Grammar Police...
By gez on 7/14/2006 12:49:12 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Concerns over security is as high as ever


That is just begging to be fixed...




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