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wsj-on-rfid-smashers

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There is a front-page article in today's WSJ about people smashing their RFID-enabled credit cards due to security concerns. Subscription required, sorry.

When Brenden Walker got his new MasterCard PayPass ATM card in the mail last month, he headed to the gas station to try it out.

To test the card's "Tap N Go" convenience, he passed it in front of the scanner, which activated with a beep and displayed the word "authorizing..." on its LCD screen.

That was quite enough for Mr. Walker. Without completing the transaction, he put the card down on the pavement and took a hammer to it.

"I gave it a couple of good whacks," he says.

Here is an interesting tidbit (emphasis mine):

Makers of products using RFID say privacy and security safeguards are being built into the chips to prevent abuses. MasterCard International says multiple layers of security are available to prevent MasterCard data from being stolen by electronic eavesdropping. It is up to the companies that issue the card to decide which security measures to adopt, says Art Kranzley, MasterCard's executive vice president in charge of new payment technologies.
I wonder what exactly that means. Is 'none' an option?

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