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Electronic Pickpocketing:
Drawbacks to a cashless society

Offensive tech


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Stealing with ease...


Here's a scary thought: without touching you, thieves can pluck the information from a credit card in your wallet, transfer that information to a blank card and start spending, spending, spending before you ever realize what's happened.

It's called electronic pickpocketing.

All it takes is a little know-how, a small computer and a scanner available online for about $100.

The threat emerged as card companies adopted a technology called radio frequency identification. Some of the latest generation of credit cards, passports, hotel room keys, driver's licenses and badges use the technology.

Instead of passing along information via the scanning of magnetic strips, RFID cards "broadcast" data using embedded computer chips and radio antennae.

Somewhere between 35 million and 100 million cards with the technology are circulating in the United States. More are sure to come, because contactless cards are supposed to speed up transactions at the register, which presumably will encourage more credit card use and greater profits for credit card issuers and businesses.

read more: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110614/COLUMNIST/110619745

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