WTA09 – Bugs In Your Pocket

WTA09 – Bugs In Your Pocket

Date: April 2, 2011

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT

Attendees: Albert Gareev, Alexander Lipski, Deb Amigun, Justin Byers, Lanessa Hunter, Linda Rehme, Michael Larsen, Phil Kirkham, Scott Seltzer, Shmuel Gershon, Timothy Western

In today’s session, we examined a news report that demonstrated the potential risk of new RFID technology built into some credit cards and other documents. While this technology is certainly convenient (just touching it to a reader can complete a transaction) it also raises the potential for devices to be created that could steal the information housed in those cards. Such a device can be easily reproduced with a reader you can buy on eBay for $5, a netbook computer, and downloadable software.

Our mission was to explore the feature (RFID access) and the ways it is used. The discussion today also centered around defining the potential and actual risks, and how we could effectively mitigate those risks in our testing.
We determined what was considered an appropriate and desired use, one that benefits the customers, and unwanted use, such as the potential to be used for identity theft.

Several ideas were considered, including some suggestions in the original video piece (video link here). We tried to reverse engineer the technology to determine the steps in the process, which steps were considered more vulnerable to fraudulent use, and to discuss various test ideas. we also discussed ways to show the reality of the threat, and at the same time, test ideas and approaches that could mitigate the risk of a fraudulent user getting access to the data.

Full chat transcript can be viewed here.

About the Author

I’m a software tester working with Socialtext in Palo Alto, CA. I have worked in a number of different fields and in a number of different capacities. I started my testing career in March of 1991. I am co-founder and primary facilitator for Weekend Testing Americas. I am a black-belt in the Miagi-do School of Software Testing, a member and Teacher in the Association for Software Testing, and the producer of Software Test Professionals' "This Week in Software Testing" podcast (now on hiatus).