Yet another dumb headline about contactless card security

[Dave Birch] I had a few e-mails from people about the story in Engadget that was titled “RFID cards hacked easily with $8 reader”…

the crew at BoingBoing TV has posted up a little demo of how easy cracking the RFID encryption on an American Express card can be. All it takes is an $8 dollar reader easily available on eBay

[From RFID credit cards easily hacked with $8 reader – Engadget]

The actual title should have been “Well-designed American Express contactless cards work exactly according to specification and non-hacking non-exploit does not actually result in losses to either cardholder, retailers or American Express themselves”. Anyway, the reason I got a few e-mails was because people wanted to know where to get these $8 readers. I just checked on eBay (US) and the cheapest pre-owned contactless terminal I could find was over $60. The video actually shows him using a Vivotech Vivopay 5000 (which is a couple of hundred quid in the UK), so if this guy really can get them for $8 he’ll make far more money from reselling the terminals than he will from “hacking” ExpressPay cards.


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