John Baras, Vladimir Ivanov interviewed for TV segment on RFID theft
CTV News (Prince George's Community Television) interviewed Professor John Baras (ECE/ISR) and his student Vladimir Ivanov for a technology story first aired Feb. 17 on the theft of credit card numbers and identities using RFID (radio frequency identification) technology.
The segment was broadcast at 4:30, 5:30, 8:30 and 11:30 pm on Comcast channel 76 and Verizon FIOS channel 42. In part one, Baras and Ivanov described the problem of skimming credit cards with RFID cards to remotely extract personal information. They described how easy it has become to accomplish this for first generation credit cards with RFID, passports with RFIDs carrying personal information and data, and ATM cards and machines. Baras described several technologies that have been developed to protect credit cards carrying RFIDs, including encryption of data and transmissions. He outlined the tradeoffs between improved security and cost, as well the difficulties encountered due to the computational and energy limitations available for the RFIDs on cards.
Baras then described more recent developments where mobile smart phones, PDAs and tablets are evolving to become “universal” devices for consumers and users, including electronic payment, medical communications, etc. He predicted that payment by wireless devices such as these will eclipse the use of credit cards in the near future. Baras and Ivanov described and demonstrated technologies developed in Baras’s research group that provide much stronger security protection for such mobile wireless devices including special chips (trusted platform modules (TBM), mobile trusted modules (MTM), special wireless waveforms in the signals emitted, and secure biometrics like fingerprints. They were joined by Jain and Ta two other graduate students working with Baras in mobile wireless security and developing similar technologies. This part two, focusing on technology being developed by Baras's research group to protect mobile wireless devices against thieves, will be aired in the near future.