Feeds

Biz travelers howl over US gov RFIDs

Border (in)security

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
JLaw, Kate Upton exposed in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.