race_k2 asks: "As a regular Slashdot reader I've followed the development and implementation of RFID devices in many ubiquitous areas such as clothing, passports and even people. Given that our environment is becoming increasingly tagged, often without our knowledge or consent, and can be monitored or hacked by anyone with the proper hardware, skills and motivation, I viewed the recent arrival of two new ATM cards containing RFID chips with skepticism. While this feature may bring the increased convenience of speedy checkouts, it is not something I am completely comfortable using and decided that the safety of my personal data was more important than the ability to buy things quickly. The vulnerable nature of RFID security coupled with recent, though unrelated, reports of a Possible Security Flaw In ATMs make me seriously question whether the marriage of wireless data transfer with personal finance is a wise application of technology." So race's question basically boils down to: How safe and secure are the RFID chips that are being embedded in debit and credit cards? To add another issue on to the fire: Would you trust RFID technology on your cards?
race_k2 continues: "My concerns were well received by representatives at Chase and after checking with a supervisor the rep said that a new chip-less card was on its way. On the other hand, the people at HSBC could not fathom why I would not want to have this fantastic new technology in my pocket everywhere I go. The customer service agent said that cards without RFID tags were simply unavailable and I could opt to not use the feature at checkout. The concept of unauthorized reading of the ATM card by a mobile RFID scanner fell on deaf ears and questions regarding the level of security on the RFID ATM card chips were not answered to the technical level that I was hoping for. The stated 'Don't worry, we use encryption' did little to allay my concerns.
Is the unauthorized access of sensitive personal data on an ATM card chip by a home-brew RFID scanner a real possibility? Will we have to worry about the spread of RFID viruses to our back pockets and purses? Finally, are there any passive methods to permanently inactivate an RFID chip without having to resort to its removal or destruction?"