Feds at DefCon Alarmed After RFIDs Scanned

Feds at DefCon Alarmed After RFIDs Scanned
Feds at DefCon Alarmed After RFIDs Scanned

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By Kim Zetter 
Threat Level
August 4, 2009  

LAS VEGAS -- It=E2=80=99s one of the most hostile hacker environments in the 
country -- the DefCon hacker conference held every summer in Las Vegas.

But despite the fact that attendees know they should take precautions to 
protect their data, federal agents at the conference got a scare on 
Friday when they were told they might have been caught in the sights of 
an RFID reader.

The reader, connected to a web camera, sniffed data from RFID-enabled ID 
cards and other documents carried by attendees in pockets and backpacks 
as they passed a table where the equipment was stationed in full view.

It was part of a security-awareness project set up by a group of 
security researchers and consultants to highlight privacy issues around 
RFID. When the reader caught an RFID chip in its sights =E2=80=94 embedded in a 
company or government agency access card, for example =E2=80=94 it grabbed data 
from the card, and the camera snapped the card holder=E2=80=99s picture.

But the device, which had a read range of 2 to 3 feet, caught only five 
people carrying RFID cards before Feds attending the conference got wind 
of the project and were concerned they might have been scanned.


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