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Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors.

Airing date: 04/19/2017

What are the Dangers of RFID Cloners


Matt Gagnon: Just hit myself in the face with my earphones. Oh my God. Do you think earphones shouldn’t do that? Should we ask Craig Peterson that question?

Ken Altshuler: Headphones that don’t hit you in the face?

Matt: That don’t, you know, recoil and slap you across the face.

Ken: Yeah. Ok. Let’s ask him. Craig Peterson, our tech guru joining us now as he does every Wednesday at 7:30. Just go to Good morning Mr. Peterson. How are you?

Craig Peterson: Hey, good morning guys. I’m doing well. I’m out in Phoenix today.

Ken: Ooh. Nice sunshine. It’s only 40 degrees here so, you know.

Craig: I’m going to miss the weather back home. It’s in the 90s here. It’s terrible.

Matt: It’s tough to be you.

Ken: Yeah. So Craig, I have a MacBook as you know. But I do have a Windows section on my MacBook. Do I have to shut it off this weekend?

Craig: Ooh man. This is really an interesting question. You know, we talked before about the CIA    hacks and the leak of some of their tools and documents. The NSA was hacked last summer. Now we have another huge hack release. And so the big question everyone’s asking us is how is it going to affect us? Now, there are what are thought to be zero day exploits here against Windows which means these are hacks that have never before been seen in the wild. That’s a really, really big deal, the bottom line. So that’s the question. You asked the right one Ken. What should you do? If you have Windows computers, knowing now that these tools that our NSA developed were stolen from the NSA and are now being seen in the wild and are being used to hack people. The bottom line is most of the tools that are stolen, the most interesting ones, are designed to attack the international banking system. How’s that for fun?

Matt: Woohoo.

Craig: Our NSA has been monitoring and hacking the international banking system called SWIFT, for some years now, and pretty much every transaction in the world, but most particularly over there in Saudi Arabia and some of those other countries. So this is the big question. Microsoft says we patched these things already. They said that last time and they hadn’t patched these bugs. So we just don’t know. Let me give a quick piece of advice for everyone else there. Security is important on all of our devices but particularly on our computers. Whether it’s a Windows machine, it’s a Mac, a Linux box, there is something really simple you can do as a home user. It’s free. It’s called OpenDNS. OpenDNS which is the dynamic naming system. And OpenDNS, what it does is if your computer gets infected, and your computer tries to call home now to the bad guys, it can’t find the bad guys in most cases. So the most effective, quick, cheap, and easy solution is just get a free account with OpenDNS. There’s explanations on there how to use it. You can’t really use it for business unless you want to pay them. Cisco bought the company. It gets complicated. You can contact me if you want more information. But it’s free. It’s cheap. It’s easy. And your antivirus software is not effective at all against zero day attacks. And that’s what some of these attacks are that just got off the NSA. By the way, thanks NSA for finding these security holes and letting Microsoft know about them. Because who could possibly ever find the same security holes, Ken? You know, I’m being so sarcastic here, it bothers me to know Ken, to know this is happening every few months. That our intelligence agencies are developing tools to hack our computers. And then the intelligence agencies are getting hacked or, for whatever reasons, are losing these tools. They’re getting it to the hands of the bad guys and the bad guys are using them against us. This has got to stop. You got to change strategies somehow.

Matt: We’re talking to Craig Peterson as we do every Wednesday at this time. Thanks for joining us Craig. And once again, speaking of government agencies, hacking, and compromised security, the recent WikiLeaks revelation about the government hacking tools apparently has been further developed and investigated a little bit. We got 40 cyberattacks now linked to these hacking tools?

Craig: Yeah. Across 16 different countries here now. This is part of that Vault7 series in WikiLeaks that you’ve mentioned. 7800, approximately, documents that came of there from the CIA again. But yeah, the bad guys are starting to use these. Now, this NSA hack is thought to have been released. This information has been released by some Russians that probably are associated with Vladimir Putin and company. This set of CIA hacking tools that is now being used by the bad guys was released by a group called Longhorn. Those are the cyberattackers. Now, let’s talk about Longhorn a bit here because we’ve been talking a lot about the Russians, right? And the Russians hacking. Longhorn works East coast US times. Monday through Friday. The IP addresses and some fingerprints seem to indicate that they are a North American hacking group and they’ve been active hacking targets throughout the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa. And once there was at least one case where Longhorn hacked the computer in the United States and then it uninstalled the hack in an hour. So it looks like Longhorn may be associated with our CIA or maybe our NSA. Private firm here in the US doing the same thing those wonderful Russian hackers were doing from the other side. So Longhorn’s using the tools now to hack foreign governments and as I said, even the banking systems.

Ken: We’re talking to Craig Peterson. He’s our tech guru. He joins us every Wednesday at 7:38. And you can go to, get all of his information. His newsletter. Chockfull of information.

Matt: Chockfull.

Ken: Chockfull. And Craig, I didn’t realize that the internet could discriminate against people. Is it possible to discriminate by the internet?

Craig: Yeah. Well this is interesting because now people are saying that Congress passed a law a couple of weeks ago repealing some of the rules the FCC had in place about keeping your information private, right? We talked about that. And you know, is your browser spying on you? Now they’re saying that this really is an act that’s causing internet discrimination. That you are going to be penalized now. You’re going to be discriminated against because of your activities online. And the FCC privacy rules now, you know, not all of them but some of them are gone. Congress got rid of them. We’ll see what happens. The Democrats really objected against what the FCC was now going to do based on what Congress has passed as a law. I don’t know if it’s discrimination to say hey, you’re using Netflix. Netflix is using the majority of our bandwidth. You should pay more for it because you’re using more bandwidth. It’s a good question here. You know if you’re out using the roads more than someone else and you’re out on the main turnpike, should you be paying more than someone else? Obviously you are, right? Because you pay every time you use the turnpike. But is that fair or isn’t that fair? And that’s the discussion on right now. Why are you discriminating against me on the internet just because I use the internet more than someone else does? So we’ll see. Remember these are private roads. The internet’s a private road. It isn’t provided by the government. Should you have untethered access to it?

Matt: We’re talking to Craig Peterson, as we do every Wednesday at this time. Now Craig, story time here. When I was a bit younger, I remember making a fake ID with a printer and something to laminate.

Ken: Plead the 5th.

Matt: I’m sorry. I knew people who were able to do that with a very good printer and some, you know, a little bit of technology, in helping him out.

Craig: Ingenuity.

Matt: Ingenuity. A little bit of a good old-fashioned American know-how. So that’s not as easy as it used to be but you can now clone security badges. Little fake RFID.

Craig: Yeah. Think about where are those things being used nowadays, right? You check into one of these hotels where you just hold the card up near the door lock.

Matt: Yes.

Craig: Those are RFID chips. They’re embedded in almost everything nowadays. If you go to a major big box retailer, it’s going to have these chips embedded in them. And the idea is that now you have something that’s easy enough to use that well, you don’t even have to put in a slot. Our passports have RFID chips in them. Many states have RFID chips in their driver’s licenses. And these are the same types of chips that you might have put in your pet, right? It gets injected in pet’s neck and if the pet’s lost, they can read the chip. So I’m doing more investigation to this. I guess I’m becoming an investigative journalist.

Matt: Well, congratulations.

Ken: Wow.

Craig: Well, isn’t that cool? I ordered 18 dollars’ worth of equipment that’s from China that should be here in a couple of weeks. But I have now seen a couple of videos…




Craig: Yeah, exactly. From China. I’ve seen a couple of videos now of guys duplicating these RFID cards. Now I keep my cards in a wallet that’s RFID reader-proof. But the technology is there right now for everybody for not expensive money. As I’ve said, 18 bucks in my case. I could be walking down the hallway with you, or scanning at Starbucks. I could clone your RFID card that’s used to open your door at work. And then go in after hours and have full access to everything you do. I could be standing next to you at Starbucks at the hotel. I’ll clone your room key, kind of follow you back. Find out what room you’re in, and use your room key at night to get into your room. Very scary stuff. And again, two-edge sword here with technology. And I’m going to find out more. I’ve kept a bunch of room keys from hotels I’ve stayed at. I’m going to try and clone them. We’ll see what happens here. But this is something to be aware of. Always keep your credit cards, RFID card, etcetera, in a wallet or a purse that’s RFID proof. Tunney, by the way, the kind of expensive, really good luggage maker has RFID pockets. I did contact the State Department. Apparently our passports can only be read remotely if they’re open. But I keep them in an RFID pouch because I don’t want to be walking down the street somewhere. Have someone ping me and say oh. He’s got a US passport. This is real. Again, we’re not considering the implications of technology.

Ken: Craig Peterson, our tech guru. Joining us as he does every Wednesday at 7:30. Thanks Craig. We will talk to you next week.

Craig: Hey gentlemen, take care. Thanks.

Ken: Thanks.


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Show Notes

Joined Ken and Matt to discuss more about privacy. With Tom Wheeler, Chairman of  the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) being recently replaced, will that mean that we will now be watched and continuously monitored?

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Don’t miss any episode from Craig. Visit Subscribe and give us a rating!

Thanks, everyone, for listening and sharing our podcasts. We’re really hitting it out of the park. This will be a great year!