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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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