Thursday, February 09, 2012

Product Design Fail

The "security" of RFID chips has been cracked for a while now, but rather than improve the product itself, credit card companies, one of the biggest users of the technology have chosen to silence critics of its technology. According to this Gizmodo article, the show Mythbusters, airing on the Discovery Channel were forced to scrap an episode that revealed the insecure nature of RFID technology after credit card companies threatened to pull their advertising dollars.



While "voting with your wallet," can be a good way to express one's views, it could also be dangerous when a person--or in this instance a company--with a big wallet decides to vote with it, undermining the security of the masses. The fact is that RFID technology is easily hacked and the credit card companies, not wanting this to get out (even though the tech-savvy underworld is well aware of its vulnerabilities), will choose to silence critics of the technology rather than improve it to make it more secure. The government also has an interest (and investment) in RFID technology, as all new passports have an RFID chip embedded in them, so they're no help either. The security risk is high enough where Wired magazine, back in 2007 wrote an article on how to disable the chip with a hammer.

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