Feeds

Biz travelers howl over US gov RFIDs

Border (in)security

Security for virtualized datacentres

A travel industry group has called on the US government to halt its use of new machinery that remotely reads government issued identification cards at border crossings until the safety of the new system can be better understood.

Monday's call by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) follows similar requests by a chorus of civil liberties and computer researchers. They warn that use of the new long-range radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners could jeopardize the privacy and security of people who pass through US borders.

"ACTE is concerned that unauthorized individuals could either resort to electronic eavesdropping at the border or use similar devices that could extract data from RFID chips at other locations," the group's executive director said in a statement. She asked for the system to be halted pending a comprehensive security review.

In July, researchers with RSA Laboratories and the University of Washington published a paper exposing several risks posed by RFID system used in US passport cards and drivers licenses issued by several states that emit RFID signals. They found the documents were susceptible to cloning, a vulnerability that could allow attackers to assume the identity (at least partially) of others.

The researchers also said it was possible for unauthorized parties to remotely read the RFID information embedded in the documents. Interestingly, drivers licenses issued by Washington state were vulnerable to remote scanning even when placed in protective sleeves, the report found.

The information contained in the documents is at the moment limited to an index number that functions similar to a social security number. But civil liberties groups say it still might be enough to allow the tracking of travelers' whereabouts.

"We think there's a significant risk down the road of people being tracked by these static unique ID numbers," Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Register. "How hard is it to harvest numbers and associate them with people's names?"

According to a recent article in USA Today, the scanning machines are in place at five locations as part of the government's requirement that anyone who crosses the border show government-issued ID. The ID can be read from a distance of 50 feet.

In addition to Washington, New York State is also issuing drivers licenses that embed RFID information that works with the system. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.