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Convenience Cards Give Away Your Personal Information
Cards made for convenience could end up being very inconvenient for you. They are called contactless credit cards or radio frequency identification (RFID), and no longer require a swipe just a touch to transfer your credit or banking information to retailers.
“The payment card industry is all about convenience, the faster they can get you to spend money the faster they can make money,” said Dave Moore, owner of Dave Moore Computers.
Moore not only works on computers but works to help keep people safe from hackers and those out to steal your identity online. “There are a lot of people out there that have nothing better to do all day long than to figure out ways to steal your money. That's their job and they're good at it.”
Those crooks quickly figured out how to exploit the technology that exists inside your contactless credit card. Moore says the RFID technology, while relatively new and cutting edge isn’t that complicated. “You're basically carrying around a little radio transmitter that is transmitting your credit card information to anyone within range of what's there.”
In older cards, the information that’s transmitted is damaging. Entire names, credit card numbers, expiration dates and security codes sent through the air unencrypted and available to anyone with a reader.
We found out, getting a reader is not difficult at all. You can build your own for less than $100, or buy one already made. Moore found several ranging from $8 to $50 online. However it does take a certain amount of research to find the right reader for the frequency used by American credit cards.
The range of most readers is only a few inches, however Moore says another $20 will get you an antenna that when properly attached can boost the range of the card readers. Hook it all up to a laptop or netbook equipped with a program that will capture the card’s radio signal and you have a portable scamming device.
“I think there are unintended risks there that people never really thought through,” Moore said. “They built a wonderful technology that makes things fast and easy and convenient, but they didn't think through the potential liabilities and consequences.”
The newest cards to add a level of protection, by removing the plain text names and numbers; however Moore says the information they transmit is enough to clone a credit card. Cloning is a bit more complicated, but once accomplished it means someone can start using the card just as if they had removed yours from your wallet.
The RFID technology is also in your passports and some other travel documents. The programs needed to read these sensitive documents are also only a few clicks away.
So how do you protect yourself? Moore says one solution would be for the makers of RFID to come up with better encryption procedures so the information is not readily available. “The bad guys like to go after the low hanging fruit and if they have to mess around with something like encryption and decryption they're just going to move onto something easier.”
However since that isn’t happening now, you could always block RFID readers from sensing your card or just disable the chip altogether. Blocking readers is as easy as lining your wallet with aluminum foil. You could also make foil pouches for your cards or government IDs. If you don’t like the look of the foil, there are commercially available sleeves that have a sleeker look and work just the same.
A more permanent solution would be to disable the chip so it could never be read. To accomplish this you can either push a small pin through the chip or hit it with a hammer. Moore recommends wrapping your card in a cloth to prevent damage to the numbers or magnetic strip before using the hammer method.
Posted: Monday, February 11 2013, 10:36 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Tornado hits OKC suburb, kicking up debris
May 19, 2013 22:29 GMT
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) -- A tornado kicked up debris in an Oklahoma City suburb and threatened a number of tourist attractions on historic Route 66 before growing into a larger storm that rolled across rural parts of central Oklahoma.
Television footage Sunday showed a tornado at Edmond . The storm threatened a novelty soda-pop store and a historic barn in the small town of Arcadia, then grew into a larger storm as it moved northeastward a few miles north of the Turner Turnpike between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
The Storm Prediction Center had forecast a moderate risk of severe weather in Oklahoma and adjacent portions of Kansas and Missouri.
TV video also showed power flashes from transformers blowing out as they were hit by high winds or debris.
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