News Column

Security Expert Clones College Student’s ID’s and Credit Cards for National News Demonstration

May 27, 2014

Industry’s First 125Mhz Protection Product Launched

TAMPA, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- A chip similar to the embedded radio frequency identification chips that make contactless credit and debit cards susceptible to electronic pickpocketing also make point of access key cards alarmingly easy to remotely capture, clone and exploit, according to a recent Inside Edition story in which Identity Stronghold founder and CEO Walt Augustinowicz demonstrated the personal security threat these chips pose.

The demonstration at Northern Arizona University proved security is only an illusion at facilities where door access is controlled by a contactless card reader.

“We’ve filmed and documented almost 100 demonstrations for the public showing the vulnerabilities with RFID-enabled credit, debit, access and identification cards, and the Inside Edition story is just more evidence that the public is on its own, and needs to take action and shield these cards at all times,” said Augustinowicz.

Augustinowicz has previously demonstrated the same security flaws for the University of Arizona and Georgia Tech with Atlanta’s Fox 5. Each student who volunteered to take part in the investigation was shocked to learn how easily their personal and financial information is stolen and exploited when their card issuer neglects to recognize and address the vulnerability. And it’s not just college campuses.

The same vulnerability exists everywhere door access is controlled by contactless cards, including police stations, military facilities, corporate offices, and government buildings. Fox reporters in California recently watched in stunned amazement as Augustinowicz remotely captured and cloned a California state assemblyman’s access badge and easily gained entry to sensitive areas of the Capitol.

In Chicago, where the local transit authority issues pre-paid contactless fare cards for its trains and buses, Augustinowicz was featured in a Chicago Tribune story that described how easily a thief can exploit these cards to literally obtain a “free ride.” And North Miami Beach Police Commander Tom Carney, in an interview with Miami’s NBC 6, told reporters “there’s no doubt that it’s happening” in the Miami area and that he expects the exploitation of these cards’ vulnerabilities “to get worse,” according to the station’s Website.

“So why aren’t card manufacturers and facilities managers doing anything to shore up these vulnerabilities? Well, If you just sold a multimillion-dollar security system to the CEO of a company, to the president of a university, to a city council, or even to the security officer of a government building, how do you go back and tell them that remotely pickpocketing and cloning contactless access and credit cards is absurdly simple, and that there is and always was a major security flaw at the very core of that system?” asked Augustinowicz. “Apparently, you don’t. You just bury your head in the sand and keep quiet, because, so far, all of our warnings have fallen on deaf ears.”

Identity Stronghold is providing a solution, the industry’s first-ever signal blocking device for 125khz point of access systems—the Secure Badgeholder® with BloxProx, as a leading entry control point system solution that addresses this problem.

In a recent Transaction World editorial titled "Can We Strike a Balance Between Speed and Security?,” Augustinowicz pleads for more honesty by all card issuers and more vigilance by card users.

“Top government agencies are using SecureBadgeholder® Classic and DuoLite shields for their proximity cards because of the security risk, but in visiting with many state and local agencies, as well as private corporate buildings and complexes — including airports — most are walking around completely vulnerable to the threat of cloned phantom keys,” said Augustinowicz. “We’ve demonstrated how easy it is, and will continue to do so.”

For Identity Stronghold

Michael Bilello, 813-732-0180

Source: Identity Stronghold

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Source: Business Wire

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