International News Desk – At Home: RFIDS make it simple for drive-by hackers to sniff your personal data – In Foreign News: Saab won’t get government bailou

International News Desk – At Home: RFIDS make it simple for drive-by hackers to sniff your personal data – In Foreign News: Saab won’t get government bailou

At Home: RFIDS make it simple for drive-by hackers to sniff your personal data

If You’re one of those people who doubt just how easy it is for personal data to be stolen, you might want to check out this short video on the CBC.

Before you click, here’s the background. The current wave in personal data tracking is Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID). RFID chips hold radio-scannable information about whatever product they’re embedded in, such as shoes or enhanced drivers? licenses (EDLs).

In Canada, EDLs are being used in B.C. and are planned for a mass rollout in Ontario in 2009. Another use for RFID chips is in passports, such as the new US ?passport cards.?

The problem? It’s possible for hackers to ?sniff? the data on your documents. As the CBC article reveals, a white-hat hacker needed nothing more than ?a $250 Motorola RFID scanner, an antenna and a laptop,? and within 20 minutes he had three distinct passport tags?all picked up while driving around in his car. The numbers can be used to create new, fake passports or ?simply to track the number’s owners.?

Although governments and credit-card companies insist the data on RFIDs is encrypted, some researchers have already built scanners able to skim card information and complete unauthorized purchases. The suggested solution is to store RFID-enabled ID in foil-lined wallets. However, that doesn’t solve the problem of how to protect your data when you take the credit cards out of your wallet to use them.

In Foreign News: Saab won’t get government bailout

While other governments are throwing billions at failing automakers, the Swedish government has refused to bail out Saab. The company’s US owner, General Motors, has said Saab will need to file for bankruptcy protection unless the Swedish government steps in.

As The Local reports, That’s not going to happen. Maud Olofsson, Enterprise and Energy Minister, told Swedish public radio that ?Voters picked me because they wanted nursery schools, police and nurses, and not to buy loss-making car factories.?

On February 17, GM presented their restructuring plan to the US treasury but it did not include help for ailing Saab. The company said last year it planned to try to find a buyer for the brand. As Olofsson told reporters, ?I’m disappointed in General Motors, because they’re abandoning Saab and are pushing the responsibility over to Swedish tax payers, and I think that is irresponsible.?

The opposition is calling for the government to provide a bailout to the automaker. Saab employs just over 4,000 people in Sweden, but unions say that, including suppliers, some 15,000 jobs would be lost if Saab fails.

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