Messing with barcodes


[nico] just received his credentials for an upcoming conference. On each badge, there’s a 2D barcode with the participant’s bio and contact info. These are meant to be scanned by vendors for future contact. [nico] isn’t so interested in that and plans on updating his personal info by generating a new barcode. To this end, he’s collected a number of links to help out barcode hackers. He used the SWIPE toolkit to identify the format and decode (it has an online component too). There are also several online encoders you can use, like this one from [Terry Burton]. If you’re wondering what sort of shenanigans you can get into faking barcodes, check out [fx]‘s presentation from 24C3.

[photo: seanbonner]


  1. Tacticus says:

    This sounds like a job for little boby tables

  2. Tacticus says:

    gah i hate it when the mind and hands don’t seem to be talking to each other

  3. RenderMan says:

    Lol, I just did that tacitus.

    At SecTor 2008 in Toronto, they had 2d bar codes on the badges that were part of a contest as well as ID info for marketing.

    I had some signs printed for other stuff and printed up the same style 2d bar codes on the signs. Everyone assumed that it was part of the contest.

    The barcodes decode to ‘sql drop tables;’

    It was fun watching people take photo’s with their phones and try to decode them. Alot of people learned a lesson that con about validating input :)

  4. Jon says:

    For some odd reason : Price-checkers at wal-mart and target can scan the back of you license….however nothing comes up.

  5. raiko says:

    Walmart and Target use the barcode on your license to approve checks.

  6. confusis says:

    who the hell still uses checks/cheques? everything here in New Zealand is still 1-d barcodes so most of this is not particularly useful…

  7. Peter says:

    :CueCat FTW!

  8. Warren says:

    Oh well the Corel DRAW! suite has a barcode generator built in to most of its applications so that could be useful

  9. MontrealPaul says:

    Very interesting! But I wonder how many people sending in barcodes from their driver’s license and other personal stuff to those online tools are taking Identity Theft into consideration??

  10. mbm says:

    I’d love to register for a conference with a carefully chosen set of credentials such that the 2d barcode on the badge was a pixel art happy face.

  11. Mr.P says:

    I like the pixel art happy face idea!!!

  12. cartufer says:

    fabtech 07 badges had proprietary complex 2d barcodes, most booths had badge scanners, some had handheld badge scanners, some had pen and paper for info, every booth scanned info for spamming mail boxes

  13. ax0n says:

    I’ve been looking for some desktop software (preferably OS X or Linux/BSD) that would decode DataMatrix and other bar codes. It seems that there are programs written for iPhone and Android to do it. The Java programs presented on the link in the article here don’t work (they time out) and they seem to be targeted more at the drivers license 2D codes, not Aztec or DataMatrix. I have found many places on the web to generate most any barcode format. I just can’t find any freeware to read any of them.

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