Are you paranoid about digital stalkers reading your RFID chips? Here's a few do-it-yourself projects that may interest you.
Some German hackers in Berlin have posted instructions on the Web for constructing an "RFID Zapper" out of a disposable camera. It promises to permanently deactive an RFID chip by delivering a strong shock of energy.
All you have to do is replace the film with a coil made of copper coated wire and solder it in place. And here's a bonus -- if you're careful you can save the film and use it in another camera.
Just don't try to take your RFID Zapper on a plane. "Poldikindly informed us, that having a RFID-Zapper with you when checking in to a plane might cause trouble or even get you arrested (he almost was)," the instructions say.
There's also a good chance you might shock yourself. "And don't try it near your grandpa's pacemaker or other sensitive medical equipment either!" the instructions advise.
Dustin Kirk, a graduate student in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, has come up with a simpler device -- the RFID Blocking Duct Tape Wallet.
As Kirk notes, RFID chips are becoming more common in all kinds of identification and payment cards, including work badges, school IDs, drivers licenses and credit cards. "Why not create a protective wallet?" he asks.
No soldering equipment or voltage to worry about here. Just aluminum foil and, of course, Duct Tape. If you have a nice Italian leather, designer wallet, this may not be for you. The results aren't so pretty. But it's sure to be a conversation starter on dates and at parties.
The last DIY project is more about prying than protecting. Jonathan Westhues, an electrical engineer in Waterloo, Ontario, posted instructions on his Web site this month for cloning VeriChips, a controversial type of RFID chip designed for human implantation.
This looks like the most complicated hack of the three, and requires a special VeriChip reader, or proxmarkii device, that does not appear to be widely available to the general public. It also requires you get up close and personal with your victim.
"Oh, and lest anyone get overly worried about drive-by Verichip identity theft: that is probably not a big deal," Westhues writes. "Their biggest security feature is the absurdly short read range, which is restricted by the tiny antenna."
Duct Tape shirts and jackets, anyone?