Defend your ski pass from hackers

Ski Pass Security

An RFID secure ski-pass (Image Copyright 2010 http://www.rfidprotect.co.uk)

If you’ve been issued with a new RFID enabled, or ‘contactless’ ski pass then there’s a risk that it may be intercepted, read or skimmed, and without your knowledge. A new generation of ski and lift passes are already being rolled out across US and European resorts, and you may not realise that contained within them is a small passive RFID microchip. This bit of clever kit enables swift access to the slopes, and other services off-piste. Great news!

The not so great news if you don’t want marketers to track your every movement, and transaction, whilst on holiday. Furthermore, it’s well documented that unscrupulous hackers have been able to skim these ‘contactless’ passes using low-cost readers freely available on line. The consequences can be that your personal information and movements can be tracked and exploited for commercial or criminal gain.

  • Keep your personal information safe
  • Shield your data from readers designed to track your movements
  • Have a look about for Ski pass shielding products – there are loads on offer and many reasonably priced
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UK Government issues guidance on RFID security

Abstract: A UK government-backed report that explores certain security flaws in RFID / contactless technology.  Well worth a read is this…

Source: http://www.ico.gov.ukThe Information Commissioner’s Office is the UK’s independent authority set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.

“It will be the responsibility of RFID users to prevent any unauthorised access to personal information. One concern is a practice that has become known as “skimming”. Since a transponder’s signal can be picked up by any compatible reader, it is possible for RFID tags to be read by unauthorised readers, which could access personal information stored on them. Users can guard against skimming by using passwords. The EPCglobal Class 1 Generation 2 RFID specification enables the use of a password for accessing a tag’s memory. However, these are not immune to “hacking”.

Most RFID systems require a short distance between tag and reader, making it difficult for “rogue” readers to scan tags but this could nevertheless be done in a situation where people are naturally at close range, for example, on a crowded train. The nominal read range of some tags can also be extended by the use of more powerful readers. It is also possible to read part of a tag’s number by eavesdropping merely on a reader’s communication with a tag. Readers, with a much higher power output than tags, can be read at much greater distances.

While some RFID applications might not need communication between tag and reader to be encrypted, others that process personal and especially sensitive personal data will need an adequate level of encryption to safeguard the data being processed. In most cases “skimmers” would also need a way of accessing the external database containing the personal data, but in some cases inferences might be made about someone from information which in itself does not relate directly to him. If a person leaves a store having purchased items carrying RFID tags that have not been disabled, he carries with him a potential inventory of his possessions. This would enable someone with a suitable reader and knowledge of EPC references to discover what items he was carrying at a given time. Sensitive personal data about a person’s illness, for example, might be unknowingly revealed by him via the EPC referring to the medication in his pocket. An insufficiently secure RFID chip could also be “cloned”. By copying personal data stored on the RFID chip of an identification card, a person could for practical purposes steal the identity of the cardholder. If the information on the database (e.g., a fingerprint) is checked only against the information on the card, rather than directly against the person himself, a criminal would not need to access the information stored on the database.”

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/detailed_specialist_guides/radio_frequency_indentification_tech_guidance.pdf

Anti-skimming – a response from British-based company RFID Protect

For UK residents interested in anti-skimming products, we’d suggest making contact with RFID Protect. RFID Protect is a British-based company, and one that offers a full range of RFID sheilding kit, much of which can be custom manufactured to carry a client’s branding.

There’s also an added benefit; this being RFID Protects’ partnership arrangements with law enforcement specialists – evidenced through its work with the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust. Both parties are trying to raise awareness about RFID skimming, and strive to help people keep their bio-metric data secure.

For more information visit: http://www.rfidprotect.co.uk