TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Hackers Demonstrate Their Skills in Vegas

Hackers Demonstrate Their Skills in Vegas

Monty Solomon (
Wed, 3 Aug 2005 22:47:08 -0400

By GREG SANDOVAL AP Technology Writer

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Even the ATM machines were suspect at this year's
Defcon conference, where hackers play intrusion games at the bleeding
edge of computer security.

With some of the world's best digital break-in artists pecking away at
their laptops, sending e-mails or answering cell phones could also be

Defcon is a no-man's land where customary adversaries _ feds vs.
digital mavericks _ are supposed to share ideas about making the
Internet a safer place. But it's really a showcase for flexing hacker

This year's hot topics included a demonstration of just how easy it
may be to attack supposedly foolproof biometric safeguards, which
determine a person's identity by scanning such things as thumb prints,
irises and voice patterns.

Banks, supermarkets and even some airports have begun to rely on such
systems, but a security analyst who goes by the name Zamboni
challenged hackers to bypass biometrics by attacking their backend
systems networks. "Attack it like you would Microsoft or Linux," he

Radio frequency identification tags that send wireless signals and
that are used to track a growing list of items including retail
merchandise, animals and U.S. military shipments_ also came under

A group of twentysomethings from Southern California climbed onto the
hotel roof to show that RFID tags could be read from as far as 69
feet. That's important because the tags have been proposed for such
things as U.S. passports, and critics have raised fears that
kidnappers could use RFID readers to pick traveling U.S. citizens out
of a crowd.

RFID companies had said the signals didn't reach more than 20 feet,
said John Hering, one of the founders of Flexilis, the company that
conducted the experiment.


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