Avishai Wool, professor at Tel Aviv University’s (TAU) School of Electrical Engineering, is demonstrating the ways in which contactless smart card chips, such as those used in credit cards and electronic passports, can be both disrupted and defended at the IEEE RFID conference in Orlando, according to The Economic Times.
A new study by Wool found that simple devices constructed from $20 disposable cameras and RF antennas can disrupt the signals produced by chip-embedded smart cards.
Wool’s newest research concerns how these devices could be used to compromise Israel’s new “e-voting” technology.
“It allows hackers who are not much more than amateurs to break the system,” Wool told The Economic Times. “In a voting system, this would be the equivalent of burning ballots.”
Wool, who was part of the team who made it so that the chips e-passports can only be read when the passport is open, offers some small steps to ensure increased smart card security.
The simplest solution is to shield the card with aluminium foil or some other conductive material that would insulate the e-transmission.
Wool says that a ballot box could be made of conductive materials as well to protect the e-voting system from disruption.
According to The Economic Times, The U.S. State Department has already taken Wool’s advice: every American passport has been outfitted with conductive fibers to protect from unwanted signal interception.
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