Previous in Forum: Scale weighs a zeptogram   Next in Forum: Have you found any good April Fool's websites?
Close
Close
Close
3 comments
Active Contributor

Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 12

But Don't Call It RFID

03/30/2005 12:14 PM

Are there any X-Files fans out there? Does anyone remember the episode when Agent Scully scanned her alien implant at a supermarket register? All pop culture references aside, how easy would it be for the bad guys to steal information from passport that contains a contactless chip - a device that the Department of Homeland Security doesn't want us to confuse with RFID technology? The Orwellian doublespeak is interesting, but the technological risks may be the real story.

Register to Reply
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1055
#1

RFID vs Contactless Chips

03/30/2005 2:40 PM

The real difference between the 2 technologies is the encoding,the distance the data can be retrieved over and the price point.

With RFID anyone with a reader can use the information, there is no real encryption and if you know the format you can decipher the data. Contactless chips are mini-storage devices that can require handshaking schemes and all sorts of encryption.

As for distance that the devices can be read over and through is also a huge differential. Contactless chips do not have to be inserted or touch something, but you have to be very close (less then 1 foot with no obstructions). RFID can be read through boxes and can be read over large distances (with the right gear you can read them over 50 meters).

The differences between the 2 technologies mean that a contactless chip is almost 100 times more expensive than RFID tags. A RFID tag will cost less then 5 cents per, great for high quantity use once. Contactless chips are FAR to expensive to use like this, but are fine for durable goods meant to be used over a decade, the current expiration date on a passport.

__________________
"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
Register to Reply
The Architect
Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - S/W Architect Popular Science - Evolution - Fascinating! Fans of Old Computers - TRS-80 - A fine computer United States - US - Statue of Liberty - NY

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: GlobalSpec, Troy NY
Posts: 393
Good Answers: 5
#2
In reply to #1

Re:RFID vs Contactless Chips

03/31/2005 5:29 PM

I read somewhere recently that US passports using this kind of technology could include a thin foil layer to prevent the chip from being read unless the passport was flipped open. That'd be good enough for me.

__________________
Mark Gaulin
Register to Reply
The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 1055
#3
In reply to #2

Re:RFID vs Contactless Chips

04/01/2005 9:51 AM

Some decent RF shielding would definitely help from a security standpoint. However I think that people don't have an understanding of the technology. There seams to be a (not unreasonable) fear of the identity theft that is becoming more and more mainstream and the perception that the more digital information there is, the easier it is to steal.

__________________
"The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet." -William Gibson
Register to Reply
Register to Reply 3 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Forum: Scale weighs a zeptogram   Next in Forum: Have you found any good April Fool's websites?
You might be interested in: RFID Software

Advertisement