RF-ID Cracked

RF-ID chips can be cracked using cheap technology, U.S. computer experts said Saturday. The radio frequency identification (RFID) system, commonly used in car locks or gas cards uses a relatively simple code that criminals can easily decipher, making it easier to steal a car or get a free tankful of gasoline, said experts at Johns Hopkins University and RSA Laboratories.

“Millions of tags that are currently in use by consumers have an encryption function that can be cracked without requiring direct contact. An attacker who cracks the secret key in an RFID tag can then bypass security measures and fool tag readers in cars or at gas stations,” Rubin said in a statement.

The Johns Hopkins researchers say that if other radio frequency ID systems are vulnerable, the new field could offer far less security than its proponents promise.

Made by Texas Instruments Inc., the RFID system studied for the report uses a device that prevents a car from starting unless both the right key and the correctly coded RFID chip are used.

The fuel-purchase system uses a reader inside the gas pump that recognizes a key-chain tag waved nearby and automatically charges a designated credit card.

More than 150 million of the TI transponders are embedded in keys for newer vehicles built by at least three leading makers and in more than 6 million key-chain gas tags, the researchers said.

The problem is that the mathematical key used to code the verification system is too short, the experts said. They bought a commercial microchip costing less than $200 and programmed it to find the key for a gasoline-purchase tag. The researchers linked 16 such chips together and cracked the key in about 15 minutes.

eWEEK.com has a Special Report on RFID. More information on RF-ID is available at MIT’s Autoidcenter.org, EPCglobal, RFID.org, RF-ID Journal, buyrfid.com, ACSIS.com, RFID toolkit, rfidtalk.com and nocards.org. WiFi Planet overviews RF-ID technologies.

Related Daily Wireless articles include Cat Fight over RF-ID, Mad Cow RF-ID, Handheld RF-ID Readers, Airport RF-ID, Tracking RF-ID, Digital Angel, RF-ID: From Soup to Nuts, Tracking Ship Movements – And You, Homeland Insecurity, Marathon RF-ID Tagging, Port Security with RF-ID and RF-ID Tracking from Space?.

Small Town Get’s Navini Broadband

The City of Quitman, GA (pop. 4500), is getting a mobile wireless broadband system from Navini Networks. It will use Ripwave Element Management System (EMS) with Rodopi Software’s EasyOSS billing for managing accounts. Camvera Networks was contracted to design and deploy their new wireless broadband network.

“We are very pleased to be able to automate the bulk of the work with this integrated solution,” stated Carl Peede, president and chief executive officer of Camvera Networks. The management software is anticipated to eliminate the need to learn and maintain two or three disparate systems in order to keep track of provisioning and billing of customer accounts.

“Navini Networks delivers portable plug and play broadband wireless internet access with a pre-WiMAX solution today,” said Sai Subramanian, vice president, product management, Navini Networks. “With our smart antenna technology, we will enable the people of Quitman to evolve to mobile WiMAX in the future.”

Quitman will get broadband wireless speeds and have a clean evolution to Mobile WiMAX as that standard matures, say its supporters.

“We are heading in the direction of a total `plug-n-play’ solution for operators,” stated Camvera Networks’ COO, Walt Henley. “The next iteration of our integration will provide for customer self-service. The end user can sign up on-line, receive the modem via mail or pick it up at city hall, and then take it home without having to have a service call.”

Powerbooks Get Bluetooth + WiFi

WiFiNetNews reports that Apple will add Bluetooth 2.0 to its laptops:

The entire PowerBook line of laptops will include both AirPort Extreme (802.11g) and Bluetooth 2.0, which adds a 3 Mbps flavor to Bluetooth. This new flavor of Bluetooth is called Enhanced Data Rate (EDR).

Apple says it s the first to add Bluetooth 2.0, and at first glance that seems correct. It s easier for Apple to change the plumbing to add specific hardware to their monolithic operating system than, for instance, for Microsoft to suddenly support 100 different manufacturers flavors of Bluetooth 2.0.

The underlying chips appear to be from CSR, which had the first certified 2.0 chips late last year. CSR will integrate this technology into a new Bluetooth optional card for Dell laptops, the TrueMobile 350 Module. The 300, currently sold as an add-on, supports up to Bluetooth 1.2.

Apple’s DVD burner, the SuperDrive, now can work with both DVD+R and DVD-R media.

C/Net reports all of the new models come standard with 512MB of memory and faster graphics cards, as well as built-in 802.11g and Bluetooth. Models with a DVD burner now have a faster, 8X drive. The machines start at $1,499, a $100 drop from the prior lineup.

At the top of the line, Apple’s 17-inch PowerBook sells for $2,699 and includes a faster, 1.67GHz processor, a 100GB hard drive, the 8X DVD burner, an ATI Technologies Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics card with 128MB of video memory, and support for Apple’s 30-inch external Cinema Display monitor.

The ultimate Mac display may be the GeoWall incorporating twelve, 30″ Apple Cinema displays in a 4×3 tile. Each panel is driven by a dual CPU 2.5 GHz PowerPC G5 with NVIDIA Ultra 6800 GeForce cards. It’s being built by several universities. Uncompressed HDTV can be sent via 10 gigabit/sec fiber between Japan and U.S. universities.

Telecom Gets Grid

Talk America, which offers a bundle of local and long distance telephone services to residential and small business customers in the United States, has deployed an enterprise grid computing infrastructure with Oracle 10g software at its core.

“In the past, the database has been a single point of failure,” said Leonard. “So we looked at the reliability and scalability offered by Oracle 10g and grid computing, and established that it fits our business strategy.”

Central to the company’s technology infrastructure is Oracle Application Server 10g on Linux. Talk America will utilize Oracle Application Server 10g’s J2EE capabilities to build and deploy custom Java applications in a grid environment.

“Moving to a grid computing infrastructure using Oracle 10g software gives IT organizations greater flexibility and better alignment with business priorities,” said Robert Shimp, vice president of Technology Marketing, Oracle Corporation. “Grid computing can also improve reliability and it offers the ability to scale out system performance as needed over time.”

C/Net reports that competition in the market for infrastructure software, or middleware, is fierce with IBM battling for the top spot against BEA Systems and Microsoft. Meanwhile, Oracle, Sun Microsystems and open-source alternatives are girding for a larger chunk of middleware spending. Grid computing is the new kid in town and largely unproven.

Grid computing, says Steve Wallage in The Feature, is an IT buzzword that may be applied by the telcos. Wallage mentions three telecom projects that involve grids and wireless:

  • Intel Research at Berkeley has been looking at how to link wireless devices to create a wireless grid. Distributed robotics will be enabled by small, low-cost flexible wireless devices with a flexible, open operating system and environment to combine sensing, communication and computations.

  • TeleCom City, an economic and technology development project located north of Boston that s funded by the National Science Foundation. It’s led by Syracuse University and supported by other universities including MIT, Tufts and Boston University. The two-year project is looking at how to use idle computing power in a wireless grid environment.

  • DARC* (Distributed Audio Recording Collective) is out of Syracuse University. The system lets wireless devices with no prior knowledge of each other collectively record and mix an audio signal such as a concert, speech, lecture or emergency event. The project demonstrates the potential of wireless grids and distributed ad hoc resource sharing to harness the combined ability of mobile devices in social contexts outside the expected environments for computing.

One of the newest grid developments is from the Open Source Development Labs (OSDL) — home to Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux — and dedicated to accelerating the growth and adoption of open source software.

OSDL and ActiveGrid, a new commercial open source software company, has joined OSDL and will participate in the lab’s Data Center Linux (DCL) working group.

ActiveGrid is focused on enabling transactional applications to be scaled across a grid of low-cost commodity computers. The company is building its products around the popular LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and the PHP, Python and Perl scripting languages) stack of open source software.

“We are bringing transaction grid computing to mainstream business applications, leveraging the innovation of the open-source LAMP stack,” said Jeff Veis, vice president of marketing and business development at ActiveGrid. “Community-driven innovation is at the very core of what differentiates Linux from traditional technology models. We see OSDL as the preeminent organization in which to foster the industry collaboration needed to drive the broad adoption of open-source based transaction grid computing.”

The lab has launched a project aimed at helping Linux clustering and reducing redundancy in the kernel. OSDL established its Clusters Special Interest Group to boost the use of Linux clusters.

The city of Beaverton, Ore., along with OSDL and others, is putting more than $1 million into economic development around open-source software, and an open-source software center designed to attract and retain students from the University of Oregon and Oregon State is also on the cards.

The Open Technology Business Center opening February 1st, brings together the best minds to analyze business implications of the Open Technology movement, according to LaVonne Reimer, Director for the new Open Technolgy business center.

The Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN) is a National Institutes of Health initiative involves a consortium of 15 universities and 22 research groups that participate in distributed collaborations in biomedical science centered around brain imaging of human neurological disorders and associated animal models. The development of the National LambdaRail (video), Lambda Light Switch and the Opticomputer make it a reality. Here’s a riveting one hour lecture by Larry Smarr.

Residents of the Dutch town are creating the world s first “virtual city supercomputer. The AlemereGrid project will target 2200 citizens that have access to 100 MB/s fibre optic connections. They’ll use SETI@home-style technology to harness their computing power for scientific research. The project organizers also plan to eventually let corporations get in on the supercomputing action.

Hawaii’s first 10Gbps connection links Hawaii to Australia and the U.S. mainland. But instead of spending some $150 million on supercomputer upgrades at the Maui Supercomputer Center and Arctic Region Supercomputing Center, why not distribute the power to homes and schools. Free or discounted computers and bandwidth might be exchanged for NSA crypto decoding@home. AOL-Time/Warner could package it. Damn…

Related DailyWireless articles include; Big Science Projects, The Global Grid, The Global Hub, Unwired Countries, Taipei Unwired, Gollum Blows Hollywood, Transnational Media Production, Outsourcing US, Sony’s Cell Comes Alive, Grid Becomes Self-Aware, Creating an International Zone, West Coast Grid, Unreal Games, XBoxLive: 1M subs by June?, X-Box + IBM Chips, Playstation2 Goes Grid, Telepresence Now!, Grid Conference, GIG-BE, Multi-Player Frontier, Korean Gaming, Sensor Nets, Meshing at Intel and Oceanographic Dead Zone.

Sprint Joins WiMax Forum

Sprint has joined the WiMAX Forum as a Principal Member. The industry-led, nonprofit corporation was formed to promote and certify compatibility and interoperability of broadband wireless products based on the IEEE 802.16 standard.

Many other carriers are members, so it is only surprising that Sprint, which owns about one third of the MMDS (2.6 GHZ) spectrum in the United States, wasn’t already a principal member. MMDS is prime real estate for WiMax.

“We support the forum’s infrastructure goals,” explained Oliver Valente, vice president – Technology Development, Sprint. “Standardization and certification will unlock significant opportunities for service providers and equipment makers while bringing new high-speed connectivity benefits for users. We are anxious to conduct technical trials as test equipment becomes available, as WiMAX is complementary to Sprint’s high-speed communications portfolio, and we are looking at WiMAX solutions for a number of future applications.”

“Sprint’s decision to join the WiMAX Forum and to invest the company’s broadband experience and expertise in the development of WiMAX is significant,” said WiMAX Forum President Ron Resnick.

Sprint and Nextel merged last month. The combination will create a major communications company — owning both cellular assets and two thirds of the MMDS spectrum in the United States. Industry observers believe Sprint-Nextel will work with cable operators to offer mobile voice and data services.

Telephony magazine adds;

Sprint is in the process of deploying a nationwide CDMA 1X EV-DO network, which will give it broadband connectivity in its major markets. While WiMax’s mobile iteration based on the IEEE 802.16e standard has been scrutinized as a possible competitor to 3G services like EV-DO, the forum has tried to position the technology as complimentary, a workhorse that can take the load off 3G networks in high traffic areas.

One reason, Sprint may be thinking differently, however, is its recent decision to deploy Lucent Technologies’ IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core. IMS gives it the critical components to link its different access technologies. While Sprint so far has only discussed converging its Wi-Fi, cellular and wireline networks over a common core, WiMax could just as easily be added to the mix.