Home » Technology » Security » RFID skimming hits close to home
January is typically the time of year when most of us are scared to look at our bank and credit card statements. It doesn’t help that when we do, we find fraudulent transactions or, even worse, our accounts are maxed out or drained completely of funds.
This happened to some 400 people in Nova Scotia, Canada, this past December. It is believed they were victims of RFID (radio-frequency identification) skimming.
RFID security breaches are nothing new, but it has typically happened in much larger centers. Atlantic Canadians were caught completely off-guard, including a close family member of yours truly.
RFID skimming is a form of digital theft, which enables information from RFID based smart cards, also known as “tap” cards, to be read and duplicated. It works by reading the RFID chip at a distance using an RFID scanner, which downloads the card information. It can then be written to a new blank card, which then operates in the same manner as the original legitimate card. Because the data is identical on both cards, and the information is only copied, it makes no difference if the original data is encrypted or not.
These measures will increase the security of your RFID-enabled cards, but they are far from being foolproof. The best way to stay protected against rogue RFID scanners is to minimize your reliance on RFID-enabled tools; quitting cold turkey really is the only guaranteed protection. But if you can’t find a way around it, then you can safeguard your cards with the methods listed above.
For the record, I am now the proud owner of an RFID blocking wallet.
This post was written as part of the Dell Insight Partners program, which provides news and analysis about the evolving world of tech. To learn more about tech news and analysis visit Tech Page One. Dell sponsored this article, but the opinions are our own and don’t necessarily represent Dell’s positions or strategies.