Computer Virus Evolution

Via the BBC:

Security researchers have infected a Radio Frequency ID tag with a computer virus to show how the technology is vulnerable to malicious hackers.


"This is intended as a wake-up call," said Andrew Tanenbaum, one of the researchers in the computer science department at Amsterdam's Free University that did the work revealing the weaknesses on smart tags.

"We ask the RFID industry to design systems that are secure," he said.
RFIDs are essentially smart barcodes, a tiny computer processor with shipping information stored on it used by many manufacturers and retailers to keep track of large containers of product during shipment. (They're expensive now, so they are used mostly during the 'bulk' scanning stage. As they get cheaper, they may replace the barcodes that get scanned at check out.)

Perhaps this is an insight into my own mind, but the first thing I thought of was how easy it would be for a thief to alter the information on the tag, have a shipment sent to a warehouse of his or her choosing, then disappear. Of course the ability to implant a data mining type of thingy (I'm technical) could be equally damaging.

This isn't really terribly political, but it is vaguely scary, so the Republicans will probably try to use it as a campaign issue this fall. Actually, they'll probably stick to gays. Anyway...

The article did contain this gem:
In some cases, said the researchers, viruses could be spread by household pets such as cats and dogs that are injected with the tags to help identify their owner.
"Why don't you have your homework?"

"The Dog's virus ate it, Mrs. Appleby, I swear!"

No comments: