How to Block/kill RFID Chips

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Introduction: How to Block/kill RFID Chips

About: Taking back the world, one hacked game console at a time ... Have you ever felt like the technology you love could be used against you? Or that the government is watching you .. a little too closely? Have...

In this Instructable I will describe different ways to block or kill RFID tags. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. If you do not know about this technology yet, you should definitely start familiarizing yourself with it, because the number of different devices that utilize these types of tags is growing exponentially.

RFID chips are very similar to barcodes in the sense that a certain amount of data is contained within them, and then transmitted to a reading device which then processes and utilizes the information. The major difference is that barcodes have to be physically visible to the reading device, which is usually only able to scan them at a distance of a 12 inches or less. RFID tags, on the other hand, do not have to be visible to the reading device. They can be scanned through clothes, wallets, and even cars. The distance from which they can be read is also much greater than that of a barcode. At DEFCON an RFID tag was scanned at a distance of 69 feet, and that was back in 2005, the possible reading distance now is probably much greater than that.

There are a few different categories of RFID tags, but the most common ones, and the ones we will be dealing with in this instructable, are the "passive" type. Passive RFID chips contain no internal power supply. They contain an antenna which is able to have a current induced in it when within range of the RFID reader. The tag then uses that electricity to power the internal chip, which bounces its data back out through the antenna, where it will be picked up by the reader.

For more information on RFID tags check out the wikipedia entry.

Step 1: Reasons for Blocking / Destroying RFID Chips

The main reason someone would want to block or destroy RFID chips would be to maintain privacy. In the last step I explained that RFID tags can be read from very long distances. The potential for abuse of this technology grows as more and more products and devices are being created with these tags built in.

Companies are getting consumers to blindly accept many RFID tagged products with the promise of convenience; however, most of the devices that contain RFID tags don't really need them. The tags may save a few seconds, but sacrifice an enormous amount of privacy and security. It is now possible for someone, with relatively simple equipment, to walk down a busy sidewalk and pickup the personal information of people carrying RFID tagged devices, without them even knowing.

Being able to block or destroy these chips allows people to decide what type of information they are willing to sacrifice for convenience.

Step 2: Where Can RFID Chips Be Found

As RFID chips become cheaper, the number of devices that include them grows.

Currently there are RFID tags in:

- US passports: The RFID tag contains all the information that is written in the passport, along with a digital picture

- Transportation payments: Things like New York's EZ Pass, Florida's Sun Pass, and California's Fast Trak are all RFID based toll payment systems.

- Access control: Many buildings and schools require RFID tagged cards to be used for entry.

- Credit cards: Chase, and a few other banks, now issue credit cards embedded with RFID chips, called "blink". They are able to convince people it is an added convenience, but in reality it is a huge security risk.



There are many other devices which contain RFID tags; however, the ones listed are the most common and offer the greatest security risk.

Step 3: How to Block a RFID Tag

Luckily RFID tag signals can easily be blocked. This means that you will have the option to use the tag whenever you want, and prevent others from being able to read it.

The signal sent out by a RFID tag is easily blocked by metal. This means that placing the RFID tag inside of a Faraday cage will prevent the information from being read.

There are already two Instructables on how to build RFID blocking containers:

RFID Secure Wallet

Make a RFID Shielding Pouch Out of Trash

Or if you would rather spend money on something you could build, head over to Think Geek for their RFID blocking wallet and RFID blocking Passport Holder.

Step 4: How to Kill Your RFID Chip

In this step I will describe a few ways to permanently disable or kill an RFID chip. Most products that you own that contain RFID tags belong to you, so you have the right to destroy them; however, tampering with a US passport is a federal offense. Luckily there are ways to kill an RFID tag without leaving any evidence, so as long as you are careful, it would be pretty hard to prove that you did anything illegal.



-The easiest way to kill an RFID, and be sure that it is dead, is to throw it in the microwave for 5 seconds. Doing this will literally melt the chip and antenna making it impossible for the chip to ever be read again. Unfortunately this method has a certain fire risk associated with it. Killing an RFID chip this way will also leave visible evidence that it has been tampered with, making it an unsuitable method for killing the RFID tag in passports. Doing this to a credit card will probably also screw with the magnetic strip on the back making it un-swipeable.

-The second, slightly more convert and less damaging, way to kill an RFID tag is by piercing the chip with a knife or other sharp object. This can only be done if you know exactly where the chip is located within the tag. This method also leaves visible evidence of intentional damage done to the chip, so it is unsuitable for passports.

-The third method is cutting the antenna very close to the chip. By doing this the chip will have no way of receiving electricity, or transmitting its signal back to the reader. This technique also leaves minimal signs of damage, so it would probably not be a good idea to use this on a passport.

-The last (and most covert) method for destroying a RFID tag is to hit it with a hammer. Just pick up any ordinary hammer and give the chip a few swift hard whacks. This will destroy the chip, and leave no evidence that the tag has been tampered with. This method is suitable for destroying the tags in passports, because there will be no proof that you intentionally destroyed the chip.

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    hello how can kill or deactivate life microchip used in pets or animal ????it usually injected sub cutanous or in the muscle

    518 Comments

    How would you kill a rfid chip that is injected under the skin? They put these in crazies and people with Alzheimers desease. Got any idea? Magnets maybe?

    19 replies

    I too would like that info. I don't think magnets will? I have a dog with one. I really don't want to cut it out. there must be some way.

    if i were yo i would get the chip removed. it has been proven in lab studys that canceruos tumor a very common sideefect of these chips

    If your dog ever was picked up by animal control, that chip is likely the ONLY way you would have of ever getting it back. Collars and tags come off all the time. That chip only contains an ID number. That number can then be looked up by registered owners of scanners, but it doesn't contain any information than what you freely shared to start with. The ability for your dog to be able to be returned to you, solely because of that chip, saves millions of animal lives a year!

    Yes it is returned to you, in a cancerous state.....

    That is just outright wrong!  RFID chips are no more dangerous than digital watches, and to even attempt to claim that microchips are dangerous to dogs is TOTALLY inappropriate, and completely wrong.  Comments and ill informed beliefs like that are blatantly ignorant of the facts, and harmful to the millions of animals which are saved every year by RFID microchips in pets.

    Please, try and produce just ONE peer reviewed scientific and/or medical paper which proves your point.

    Is this the same rfid used in humans? That’s what I’d like to know....becuz the v2k and similar devices have an endless list of adverse affects, but, really, I’d need to look up differences in these devices...hey, a microchip is a microchip...it’s the capabilities of that microchip you gotta watch out for! I’m bettin they are all equally capable

    Yourr understanding of "Peer Reviewed" is interesting, none the less, yes, that is a published paper...  I'm not seeing anything in the way of peer review, and that "study" looks more like a PR piece than actual scientific study.  I would recommend spending a few minutes educating yourself about what a REAL peer review study is:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review
    But here is the summary boiled down to the brass tacks:
    "Peer review requires a community of experts in a given (and often narrowly defined) field, who are qualified and able to perform impartial review."
    The referenced "paper" is nothing more than an interpretation of other reports, has NOT been reviewed by an impartial panel, a has targeted and pre-determined conclusion.  That's not SCIENCE, and that is NOT a peer reviewed paper.

    Never the less...  Congratulations are due however.  You indeed have managed to produced a link which did allow me to do further research on the matter.  After pouring through 6 of the papers, and checking THEIR references and credentials of reviewers, the summary of them basically states that very rarely the introduction of a foreign body (be it an RFID chip, a surgical pin, a lego block for that matter, a surgical sponge, or the surgeons wrist watch) can induce a fibrosarcoma (yes, a tumor) in connective tissue due of a surgical incision and/or injection of a foreign body.  Let's say that again:  Introduction of a foreign body, ANY foreign body, can in very rare instances induce a fibrosarcoma.  It doesn't seem to matter what the particular foreign body is.  This has been a known fact for a VERY long time.  What this does NOT prove is that RFID Chips cause tumors.  Don't believe me, do the same research I just did.  ACTUALLY read them, and check the reviewers references.  Are the reviewers impartial?  What are their credentials?  How respected are they in their field?

    All the papers attempt to prove is that introduction of a foreign body (ANY foreign body!) can have an adverse reaction in the form of infection or fibrosarcoma.
    This is NOT news, and it is NOT unique to RFID chips.

    What do you know, sticking something foreign in a living being can have possible unintended side effects.

    Your referenced article (oh, sorry, "Peer reviewed paper", NOT!) do NOT prove is that _RFID_Chips_ cause cancer.  The RFID CHIP does NOT!  The IMPLANTATION of a foreign body may, in very rare instances, and has the EXACT same risks as ANY injection or surgery.

    would this help? By PEER are you TALKING of producing a implantee?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/08/AR2007090800997_pf.html

    How can you detect a chip! In your body!

    Oh yeah wiki ain't peer . Only that it is open for their 2 cents. PEER WOULD MEAN "I HAD A IMPLANT AND GOT CANCER".

    Lets get back on topic....How do we get chips out of are body..... These RFID chips or whatever they are called What devices do we use. Can we block or disable it..... And were do we go and get it.....Plain and simple.

    your comment: " What this does NOT prove is that RFID Chips cause tumors. " is not true. What would be true is that 'foreign bodies' can cause tumors. The RFID is a foreign implanted body. Therefore, it can cause tumors. Your agreeing that the device is a 'foreign body' within your own context *is* the proof that you require. The only debatable point seems to be the frequency with which such tumors arise. And therefore, licensed practitioners (who are the only people allowed by law to implant devices in the human body) must so advise the recipient of this potential risk. J. anderson, md oh yeah: that's 'Doctorate of Medicine', not the state of Maryland

    I must know some of your close friend maybe a relative my name is Mr. Plewa how have you been?

    Doc,

    I really get irritated at that sort of pedantic, semantic nit-picking! You know very well that what he meant was he wrote: that ANY IMPLANTED OBJECT ITSELF carries a small, but demonstrable, risk of such occurances, but that the "RF" portion of the RFID technology has NEVER ONCE been CONVINCINGLY shown, through ACTUAL SCIENTIFIC METHODS, to be "carcinogenic".

    If you go to the FDA's website and look up info on RFID's it explicitly states that RFID's are know to possibly cause cancer in animals and humans. That's the FDA who approved the use of them in humans. I think you can't  get a more peer reviewed group out there.

    Oh well, since you say so, it MUST be true </sarcasm>

    Once again, please furnish a peer reviewed reference one can examine for themselves and reach an informed conclusion by, if you want to be taken seriously.

    The burden of proof is not mine to debunk the (false) statement that "RFID chips cause cancer."  They do not.  Also, the burden of proof is on the person claiming that the chips do by providing evidence which support that theory.  I would refer you to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method for examples of how this process is supposed to work:  "Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. A scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses."

    Anybody can claim any ol' thing they want to.  Doing so doesn't make it true, and pointing to a marketing puff piece dressed up to look like science isn't science simply because they reference a lot of studies.  Studies that do NO support their claims I might add.  The burden of proof is on those who refute the theory to prove it wrong.  Only ONE piece of evidence to the contrary disproves the whole theory.  Period.  That's how it works, and is what makes science so great!  Only the best theories survive the test of peer reviewed SCIENCE!  Thus far, no one has been able to provide a single piece of scientific EVIDENCE as to support this hypothisis that the chips cause cancer.  They do not, and no-one has been able to prove they do...  not even once.  {shrug}

    And yes...  I _did_ try searching the FDA site for evidence to support your claim.  I didn't find anything.  If you would care to furnish said paper tho, I would appreciate it.  I'm betting no such article exists however.

    Here it is: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/ucm072191.pdf

    It lists adverse tissue reaction as a possible side effect. I did a cursory search for Adverse Tissue Reaction, and found a lot of sites that explain it, but this was from a UK medical journal that summed it up pretty well:

    What is a serious adverse reaction (SAR)?

    A serious adverse reaction is defined as "an unintended response, including a communicable disease, in a donor of tissue or cells intended for human application or a recipient of tissue or cells, which may be associated with the procurement or human application of tissue or cells and which is fatal, life-threatening, disabling, incapacitating or which results in, or prolongs, hospitalization or morbidity."

    http://www.hta.gov.uk/licensingandinspections/faqsonseriousadverseeventsandadversereactions.cfm

    Of course  the word "cancer" isn't stated, but as most doctors will tell you "cancer" is a generic term for a variety of illnesses, each with different and varied factors which lead to the cancer. The fact that the FDA states that there could be an ATR, which, as we can see from the UK site, could potentially lead to death, should cause some concern.


    :) Did you READ the study you cited? Yes, it lists Adverse Tissue Reaction as a POSSIBLE side effect (Page 6, Section 3, Risks To Health, Identified Risk, Adverse Tissue Reaction) of which it lists three mitigation measures:
    Biocompatibility - See Mitigations Section A
    Sterility - See Mitigations Section J
    Labeling - See Mitigations Section L

    All three of these mitigations are standard for medical devices and would be the same for anything implanted, be it a surgical screw, pace maker, or yes, an RFID chip.

    Also, the cited risk, and your cited explanation are not for the same two medical problems. "Adverse Tissue Reaction" != "Serious Adverse Reaction". The devils in the details.