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Scientists Find RFID 'Fingerprint' That Could Prevent Counterfeiting

Radio frequency identification tags (RFID), which appear in items like credit cards and passports, have long been susceptible to hackers looking to steal personal information. Still, RFID tags are used in many ways -- from tracking a shipment of clothes to automatically opening a doggie door. But a breakthrough from a group of University of Arkansas scientists might just ease the minds of those who worry these devices aren't secure enough. The discovery hasn't much to do with the devices themselves, but the way in which they are read.

According to, Professors Dale R. Thompson and Jai Di discovered that each RFID tag has a "fingerprint." Essentially, each tag has a unique power response at different radio frequencies -- even for tags of the same make and model. With preexisting physical characteristics in mind, scientists can interpret an electronic "fingerprint" to each tag. Using those fingerprints as a key would make the devices harder to hack and counterfeit.

With RFID being used more and more by government agencies and private businesses, it's comforting to know that somebody is thinking about security. Maybe now we can stop wrapping our credit cards in aluminum foil. It's a good thing this news broke before we let paranoia take over. [From:, via Engadget]

Tags: counterfeit, credit cards, CreditCards, fingerprint, hack, identity theft, IdentityTheft, radio, research, rfid, security

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