[Eliot] and I hit [Major Malfunction]’s talk about RFID hacking. He’s put together a set of python scripts to read – and write RFID tags. He demo’d cloning a few tags – along with someone’s implanted RFID that’s used to lock and unlock a laptop. (It looked like the reader in the kit from ThinkGeek.) He’s kind enough to offer a selection of hardware on his site. (The usb RFID reader is pretty cheap.) His work has made plenty of headlines, including slashdot, but you can get the actual details, code and hardware on his site.

12 thoughts on “RFIDIOt – RFID IO Tools

  1. I’d like to pick up a couple RFID tags and a reader. I can think of some neat applications for them.

    Using them as IDs sucks though, except in a other-geek-free environment. (Aka: My house).

    It could be handy for unlocking the computer and turning on speakers + monitor when I walk in the room though.

  2. This isn’t the Think Geek module at all… it uses some commercial modules bundled with other hardware the author has built. His work does seem to use some very capable modules that return a lot more information than just the RFID tag identifier.

    The newer 13.56Mhz tags are very versatile and can be read from quite some distance, but you can’t get the small glass ampoule versions that you can for 125Khz. Getting tags for either standard in small quantities can be hard. Suggest you look at Trossen Robotics (aka PhidgetsUSA) as an alternative to Think Geek for RFID tags, and to Innovation ID for module (http://www.id-innovations.com/home%20english.htm).


  3. A cool part of the presentation was that they passed a live RFID capsule in a needle-like injector through the audience. I’m sure the point was to just show it, but if you really wanted to, you could have injected it yourself. No one had… at least by the time it made it to my seat.

  4. @srylar – the radar golf doesn’t look like an RFID chip; I see no information stored on the chip. It’s probably more like a simple RF security tag that only broadcasts an “I’m here” signal: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_article_surveillance#Microwave_systems

    The trick with long-range RFID reading is to get the magnetic field strong enough at the tag to power the chip. RF power follows the inverse-square law, so the power needed at 20 feet is 14400x that at 2 inches. Pretty soon and you’ll start erasing credit cards if someone accidently gets too close. You can use two devices: one near the RFID to generate the magnetic field, and another one further away to read the response. Or, there may be battery-powered bluetooth readers that will forward the signal.

  5. morcheeba – thanks! erasing the credit cards is not a problem – maybe even a feature. does it erase the balance on them, too?

    when you say “I see no information stored on the chip” what are you looking at?

  6. I try to click on the images for RFID blocking and it looks like “sharesales.com” has blocked his site … what’s up with that, a man can’t earn a little petty cash.

  7. @srylar – by looking at the radar golf video, it looks like all it does is detect the presence/absence of a ball. It doesn’t seem to be able to home in on one particular ball, as would be possible if it contained a unique serial number. There’s no proof either way, but I’m assuming the simplest device.

  8. A lot of car keys have RFID chips embedded. I wonder if this software would read the serial / extra info.
    BMW keys have the VIN number, and current mileage of the car stored in them. There is a “BMW KeyReader” that some dealership service departments have that reads it…


    Any ideas?

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