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(San Luis Obispo)   New high-tech U.S. passports are Wi-Fi networks and we know how secure they are   (sanluisobispo.com ) divider line
    More: Stupid  
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12979 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Jan 2005 at 11:34 PM (12 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-01-03 04:28:55 PM  
One simple but effective solution may deter unwanted snoops, says Schneier: Cover the passport with aluminum foil. Radio frequencies have a hard time penetrating metal.

Wow, I can use my hat for something
 
2005-01-03 04:54:24 PM  
This isn't Wi-Fi, it's RFID. Big difference. I bet somebody's gonna make good money selling passport holders that are impervious to radio frequencies. It wouldn't be too hard/expensive...and would certainly be more stylish than Reynolds Wrap(tm)!
 
Ike [TotalFark]
2005-01-03 05:03:56 PM  
Yeah, screw duct-tape wallets, grab a few dozen rolls of Nashua's nifty foil tape and you can be in business.... Um, that is, if suddenly a bunch of paranoiac geeks need, uh, passport holders...

/and even if it were wireless, there's nothing inherently insecure about it if you use your damned head
 
2005-01-03 05:05:57 PM  
They are changing the design of the passport so the cover itself will have metalic woven threads, so it can only be read when the passport is open.
 
2005-01-03 06:15:40 PM  
cnelson:

They are changing the design of the passport so the cover itself will have metalic woven threads, so it can only be read when the passport is open.

I wonder how much fun it will be to go through the metal detectors with those.
 
2005-01-03 08:49:37 PM  
Ya know, I have a hard time understanding what the government thinks the benefit will be for RFID passports. Outside of the usual bullshiat buzzwords that government programs usually flap around, anyone have any ideas?
 
2005-01-03 10:20:06 PM  
27 foreign countries ... including the United Kingdom - because US allies like the UK, Australia, (and don't forget Poland) are obviously the big threats to this country.

it may only be a matter of time before countries required by the United States to issue biometric passports demand the same kind of passports from American visitors - hilarity will ensue for sure, but what's good for the goose(step) is good for the gander.

Seriously, this is such bullshiat. It will not prevent any terrorist acts. It will just inconvenience tourists and business people, apparently mostly from friendly advanced nations, where the terrorist threat is bred in less-developed, antagonistic nations.

It will also open up a fairly easy way to get personal information for identity theft. You name, DOB, place of birth, nationality, passport number, and maybe even a digitally encoded iris scan or fingerprint - nice start if you want to phish into someone's bank account, or get into their place of work. I bet you could get a SSN with this detail too.

It further erodes your civil liberties. Your personal information is not yours - it can be read by anyone with an RFID reader within 30 metres. How long before other government departments require your passport and grab all this detail.

And foil cases will only be useful if you have one, and always keep you passport in it. Ever tried to cash a travellers' cheque in another country? Or rent a car? Change cash? Check into a hotel? "Passport please." Now anyone in a 30m radius has all your details. Useful for terrorists and other miscreants abroad to be able to use this to make false passports with real information

Land of the free and home of the brave? My arse. America's new motto - be scared, and do what you are told.
 
2005-01-03 10:21:39 PM  
Oh, and crackhead is right, submitter is a dufus. RFID |= WiFi.
 
2005-01-03 11:10:47 PM  
Encryption won't work, because someone will just steal the key. Remember how long CSS lasted?
 
2005-01-03 11:41:37 PM  
Big Brother is watching.

/hides under bed with latest copy of Heavy Metal.
 
2005-01-03 11:43:01 PM  
Why not just encode the biometric data on a medium that can't be read at a distance? That is if you really insist on that level of stupidity... er.. security.
 
2005-01-03 11:43:37 PM  
Not only is WiFi about as far away from RFID as you can get and still have wireless networks, but would it hurt to punctuate the headline? I know how much people like run-ons and all, but really.
 
2005-01-03 11:43:56 PM  
Yeah those Cascading Style Sheets are the root of all security mishaps.

#!/usr/bin/perl -w
# 531-byte qrpff-fast, Keith Winstein and Marc Horowitz
# MPEG 2 PS VOB file on stdin -> descrambled output on stdout
# arguments: title key bytes in least to most-significant order
$_='while(read+STDIN,$_,2048){$a=29;$b=73;$c=142;$t=255;@t=map{$_%16or​$t^=$c^= (
$m=(11,10,116,100,11,122,20,100)[$_/16%8])&110;$t^=(72,@z=(64,72,$a^=1​2*($​_%16
-2?0:$m&17)),$b^=$_%64?12:0,@z)[$_%8]}(16..271);if((@a=unx"C*",$_)[20]​&48){$h
=5;$_=unxb24,join"",@b=map{xB8,unxb8,chr($_^$a[--$h+84])}@ARGV;s/...$/​1$&/;$
d=unxV,xb25,$_;$e=256|(ord$b[4])>8^($f=$t&($d>>12^$d>>4^
$d^$d/8))>8^($t&($g=($q=$e>>14&7^$e)^$q*8^$q>=8)+=$f+(~$g&$t))for@a[12​8..$#a]} print+x"C*",@a}';s/x/pack+/g;eval
 
2005-01-03 11:45:39 PM  
The WIFI doesn't scare me as much as the ad that was on that website!

"I thought the redness, bumps, and genital irritation were from shaving. But now I am not sure."

HOLY CRAP!
 
2005-01-03 11:46:39 PM  
WiFi, RFID, big deal, I wanna know who is responsible for the huge antenna dish thats in my butt!
 
2005-01-03 11:47:18 PM  
WiFi is secure enough for me...

nardman:

Encryption won't work, because someone will just steal the key. Remember how long CSS lasted?

good point..
 
2005-01-03 11:47:53 PM  
cnelson's point is well-taken, although I hadn't read that they were actually going to change the design (although they were considering/evaluating it). By putting a mesh wire grid in the passport cover, it puts the RFID tag inside a small Faraday cage, which should keep radio signals from getting inside unless passport is open.

nardman: Key theft is indeed a problem, however, there have been good recent examples of how key secrecy can work. For example, nobody's got the (very, very long) Xbox signing key, for example, despite it being a *very* hot item for Linux-on-X-box folks, etc.
 
2005-01-03 11:47:59 PM  
Just keep your passport in a nice leather wrapped faraday cage until you get to customs or just beat the hell out of the chip until it's in pieces. Problem Solved.
 
2005-01-03 11:48:14 PM  
Actually, your tin foil hat would work here.
 
2005-01-03 11:49:20 PM  
Those asshats, they don't knwo anything about technology. I'll bet they couldn't cut off the simplest of internet conn&*^*^%(*&^%*(%

***NO CARRIER***
 
2005-01-03 11:49:36 PM  
I always feel like
Somebody's watchin' me!
 
2005-01-03 11:49:44 PM  
`The question comes down to why the government is fixating on this technology,` Schneier said. `I cannot figure out a motive, unless they want to read it surreptitiously themselves.`

I think it's because there's quite a lot of money to be made with RFIDs, and bureaucrats are too dumb to know the difference.
 
2005-01-03 11:50:18 PM  
As presented on Slashdot

Worst case scenario:
Terrorist creates a bomb in a foreign country looking for RFID tags from the United States...say an airport or hotel lobby, a place where people would be opening their passport. The bomb stays dormant until a certain threshold of Americans, Germans, Israeils, Canadians, (insert your favorite country here) comes within range. Upon reaching that threshold the bomb detonates assuring the collateral damage and fatality count the terroist is looking for in its bomb.

Welcome to a brave new world.
 
2005-01-03 11:50:21 PM  
Hello, I am a school teacher from Azerbakstaniskanijimbabwestan. He's my passport. Git Douwn! Nouw! Loouk Ouuut!!!

[image from sea.fi too old to be available]
 
2005-01-03 11:51:23 PM  
New high-tech U.S. passports are Wi-Fi networks and we know how secure they are.

"The technology allows data on the chip to be read remotely using radio frequency identification or RFID."

Wi-Fi or RFID. Which one is it??

This makes about as much sense as "Having a lot of $20 bills and the governemnt can track you with the security thread that is embedded in the new bill."
 
2005-01-03 11:52:53 PM  
ah, yeah, I knew we were about due to lose another one of our rights. oop, there it goes.
 
2005-01-03 11:54:55 PM  
crackhead
I bet somebody's gonna make good money selling passport holders that are impervious to radio frequencies. It wouldn't be too hard/expensive...and would certainly be more stylish than Reynolds Wrap(tm)!

Is that a faraday cage in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
 
2005-01-03 11:55:06 PM  
[image from campmor.com too old to be available]
 
2005-01-03 11:55:22 PM  
lets go get our own planet
 
2005-01-03 11:56:13 PM  
It's good to know the idiots are still running the show.
 
2005-01-03 11:56:55 PM  
Just wake me up when my game boy merges with my passport.

/didn't RTFA.
 
2005-01-03 11:57:04 PM  
I wonder what will happen if you put the passport in the microwave for a few minutes?
 
2005-01-04 12:02:29 AM  

"New high-tech U.S. passports are Wi-Fi networks and we know how secure they are (if the passports were actually wifi, and not rfid):


False !!! Otherwise, if people did know, they wouldn't be leaving their networks so open so that neighbors could leech off their connection. I had the realization for myself, anyways, that computers were never meant to be for the general public, because the public wants to treat computers like an appliance.


Microsoft is just giving people what they want (easy to use 'puters), as wrong as it is. At this point, I can't be bothered to worry about other people's unsecured stuff, as long as mine is pretty much safe.

 
BHK
2005-01-04 12:03:28 AM  
It isn't just paranoia. Get a guy with a scanner, picks up info on travellers, pings it to his buddies who look up the mark on line and find out where he/she lives. It's a great tool for burglars, especially as this will likely carry over into drivers licenses.
 
2005-01-04 12:05:38 AM  
Wi-Fi != RFID... you can scan RFID devices, which are passive, remotely without the scanee knowing about it... enter tinfoil pants.

That really would work btw.
 
2005-01-04 12:07:59 AM  
I thought ebay wasn't supporting passport anymore.
 
2005-01-04 12:08:24 AM  
theigorway:

I wonder what will happen if you put the passport in the microwave for a few minutes?


The same thing as when you put your recovery CD in a microwave. Try it.

/or just use an AOL coaster
 
2005-01-04 12:09:04 AM  
RFIDs are also being explored by medical institutions to ID patients, along with a slew of other applications... what we are looking at potentially is a new system of ID... Social Security numbers, as dangerous as they are to have, may eventually be wiped out and replaced with RFID identification... sure you can prove you are who you say you are. But anybody could get your SSN without even asking you. And that is dangerous, shiatty beans.
 
2005-01-04 12:09:38 AM  
Hey guys, this isn't the national ID card, this is just a passport card. You haven't lost that right yet.

the_gospel_of_thomas
Wi-Fi or RFID. Which one is it??

This makes about as much sense as "Having a lot of $20 bills and the governemnt can track you with the security thread that is embedded in the new bill."


It's RFID, not Wi-Fi as in 802.11.

That security thread is a RFID strip. So technically one could track your movements from a closer proximity, or atleast your cash flow\direction.

Fark From Perfect - Why not just encode the biometric data on a medium that can't be read at a distance? That is if you really insist on that level of stupidity... er.. security.

Kind of like.. Magnetic strips on a standard debit\credit card? The whole idea of RFID is to be able to detect\track from a distance (a smaller one albeit) and not have to be in direct contact.

---

It should function like RFID technology that monitors the flow of cars from a distance through automatic toll roads, for example.

Kind of like cattle walking to their slaughter. Silly me, cattle don't have RFID tags yet do they?
 
2005-01-04 12:09:47 AM  
So, we figured this out, and they didn't?

Maybe they like the idea of allowing easy access. It's the stupid ones you want to catch, after all.
 
2005-01-04 12:11:21 AM  
Sonicwall TZ-170 w/wireless. More secure than most, but alas, nothing is foolproof.
 
2005-01-04 12:11:44 AM  
Give up your personal liberties before the TERRRRISTS get you!
The same terrorist groups funded by the financial elite who want mass-fear events to push control measures over the general populace, who would welcome such measures at that point.

Oops, said too much. Someone commit me already.
 
2005-01-04 12:13:53 AM  
I don't think that anyone can stop collection and distribution of personal information... I happen to think its safer if all information is public in an ideal situation. We'll get there eventually, why doesn't someone come up with a way to stop identity theft forever then we won't have to worry about people giving out personal information. I know there are geniuses out there who could solve this problem.
/who are smart enough not to be killed for eliminating an industry
 
2005-01-04 12:14:31 AM  
Cattle and RFID

http://www.computerworld.com/mobiletopics/mobile/technology/story/0,10​801,8868 7,00.html
 
2005-01-04 12:14:48 AM  
It makes more sense to use an optical data encoding mechanism. Barcoding works, but if you make it two dimensional (or even three dimensional by using optical tricks or by sandwiching layers) you can store just as much data. And it would be just as hard to fake if the algorithm encrypted the data. And it would only be readable if you were showing the passport to somebody.
 
2005-01-04 12:20:17 AM  
D00fy:

Actually, cattle will have RFID tags very soon. The company I work for is developing them.

"Waiter, why is the tag still on my steak?"
 
2005-01-04 12:25:11 AM  
hangtime79

Worst case scenario:
Terrorist creates a bomb in a foreign country looking for RFID tags from the United States...say an airport or hotel lobby, a place where people would be opening their passport. The bomb stays dormant until a certain threshold of Americans, Germans, Israeils, Canadians, (insert your favorite country here) comes within range. Upon reaching that threshold the bomb detonates assuring the collateral damage and fatality count the terroist is looking for in its bomb.


http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/articleview/778/1/1/

Googled RFID readers and this was number 1 link. This thing is the size of a quater. Take a case attach this thing to a wireless reader for RFID, Throw some explosive element in, wrap it with nails or ball bearings, set the device as suggested above, boom hunders o dead peoeple.

Once again the government that brought us the duck and cover defense against the nuclear bomb, is showing its exceptional brains.


/FLASH!
 
2005-01-04 12:25:56 AM  
oh noes the sky is falling the sky is falling
 
2005-01-04 12:27:17 AM  
Submitter didn't RTFA.

Chances are that your work badge is already RFID.
 
2005-01-04 12:27:24 AM  
2005-01-03 10:20:06 PM And-1

27 foreign countries ... including the United Kingdom - because US allies like the UK, Australia, (and don't forget Poland) are obviously the big threats to this country.


Actually, one the latest suicide bombing in Tel Aviv was carried out by two British citizens. Their British passports enabled them to move unhindered through Israeli checkpoints in Gaza
 
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