Throwing a wrench in the distribution advantages RFID (radio frequency identification) brings to commercial and security industries, a group of European computer researchers have shown that it's possible to insert a software virus into RFID tags. Many computer security experts have discounted this possibility in the past because of the small amount of memory on the chips. But these researchers say it is possible to infect a tiny portion of memory in the chip and undermine the a variety of tracking systems. This is a worrisome prospect given the implications for security, which includes the ability for terrorists to evade airport luggage scanning systems that will use RFID in the future.
While these researchers have now scared the pants off businesses and government entities that are increasingly relying on RFID technology, they at least published a series of steps to protect RFID chips from these attacks. The researchers say there isn't a specific flaw in the commercial RFID software, but experience indicates software written by large companies includes errors.
To read more about the vulnerabilities of RFID chips:
- check out this article from The New York Times