I’m spending the next few days at a conference, a rather different type than the one I usually go to. I’m at Hope Number Six, where hope stands for Hackers of Planet Earth. Three days of talks about all manner of subjects with a hacking connection with two main tracks plus a do it yourself track where anyone can sign up to give a talk. One of the more obvious differences is that no-one gets a name badge, instead we all get issued with numbers.

I attended 2 talks about RFID chips this morning, the first from a PHD student who is looking at the security requirements to keep the info safe, at a physical, protocol and system level.

The second talk was from Annalee Newitz, a Wired reporter who went for the slightly unusual step of getting implanted with a Verichip rfid to test their claim that they were totally secure and un-counterfeitable. There followed a nice demonstration of reading the chip (which broadcasts in the clear) and then playing back the signal which is then easily recognisable by the official verichip reader. Of course, when all you are doing is re-using chips designed for pets there was probably little thought to additional security required. Now I’m off to go and learn how to pick locks.

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