High-tech cloning

July 22, 2006

Updated with comment from VeriChip spokesman:NewitzWeshues1.jpgWith the debate over genetic cloning in full swing, hackers could not have cared less at a conference in New York City, where two presenters demonstrated the electronic equivalent of making a copy of an implanted RFID or radio frequency ID chip.The point was to show just how easy it is to fool a detection device that purports to uniquely identify any individual.Annalee Newitz (left) and Jonathan Westhues (right) presented their experimentations at the HOPE Number 6 conference in New York City in front of a crowd of hackers, tweakers and phone phreakers.”This is the first time someone has cloned an human-implanted RFID chip,” Newitz said. “Since I have been chipped Jonathan refers to me as an implanted pet.”Newitz said she has an RFID chip implanted in her right arm manufactured by VeriChip Corp., a subsidiary of Applied Digital.”Their Web site claims that it cannot be counterfeited — that is something that Jonathan and I have shown to be untrue.”The pair demonstrated the cloning process: Westhues held a standard RFID reader against Newitz’s arm to register the chip’s unique identification number.Next, Westhues used a home-built antenna connected to his laptop to read Newitz’s arm again and record the signal off her implanted chip.Westhues then takes the standard RFID reader and waves it past his laptop’s antenna. The reader beeps, showing Newitz’s until then “unique” ID. “It actually has no security devices what-so-ever,” Newitz said of VeriChip’s claims that its RFID chips can not be counterfeited.VeriChip spokesman John Procter said in a phone interview that he had read about Newitz and Westhues work, but the company had not been able to review the evidence. He had no specific comment regarding their “cloning” project.”We can’t verify what they may or may not have done,” Procter said, adding that: “We haven’t seen any first-hand evidence other than what’s been reported in the media.”"It’s very difficult to steal a VeriChip … it’ s much more secure than anything you’d carry around in your wallet,” he added.


As an Ex-Hacker myself I have been only waiting for this. Veri-Chip has only convinced themeselves, as Hackers we’d be able to figure out how to copy someones RFID so we could use that to and advantage.

FBI and the other agencys have figured it out by now, your not going to stop a determined hacker. The’ll be able to disguise as others when they get deep enough into it, just by ripping RFID infomation!

Posted by Nipahc | Report as abusive

Procter, you my good sir, is an imbecil.

Posted by Flemming Kold | Report as abusive

Rfid has been being hacked for a long time, even at the 5th Hope it was demo’ed just not one of the “implanted” chips, but essentialy they all work on the same principle. I hate to break it to Mr. Procter but Its very difficult to steal a VeriChip it s much more secure than anything youd carry around in your wallet, Id much rather have somone steal my wallet, and I am aware it was stolen.
However if some guy “bumps” into me on the subway, with a specal IC designed specificly to read and steal my id, and replicate it elsewhere, while im none the wiser. I dont think so…

It may be impossible to steal the physical object, but if all somone has to do is get close to you to read it and later go make another one that functions exatly the same way… I really hope this isnt a payment system…

Oh and for those interested that new mastercard tap and go thing works on rfid and can also be duplicated… Request a card without it!!

Posted by Jarrod | Report as abusive

I supppose I’d notice the theft of an rfid, since it’d require an incision in my arm or whatever, since I don’t store my wallet inside my skin. Thank God for the security, VeriChip!

Posted by ron | Report as abusive

Ok, let me be a sexist pig for just this once. But Annalee is hot. Ok, I like the nerdy types, but holeee, she is really hot and has a PhD to boot.

What was she writing about? RFID, chips…? I can’t remember. But I remember she is !!!HOT!!!.

Posted by tim stevens | Report as abusive

Why are we putting microchips in people in the first place???? Security? Give me a break!

Posted by V | Report as abusive

RFID Blocking Wallets and passport cases avaliable at http://www.difrwear.com


Its very difficult to steal a VeriChip it s much more secure than anything youd carry around in your wallet,

He should tatoo his social security number on his arm, it would be much more difficult to steal than, uh, his wallet.


The apparent release of searches made by hundreds of thousands of users is raising privacy concerns.


I do believe that the VeriChip they created was a successful clone regardless of what the VeriChip company claims. I find it quite ironic that society takes large steps with the advancements of technology and security, but with those discoveries comes advancements with the hackers technology and able to get into other’s personal security and privacy. While technology is one step ahead trying to secure, the hackers and the rest of people trying to use technology to their personal benefit is only a few baby steps behind.

Posted by eden | Report as abusive

I would hate to have any thigs I buy just be cloned like this.


Concerning VeriChip: MonDex. Revelation 13. It must be “In The Name Of World Security.” Apparently, the greatest crime one can commit, is to withhold one’s financial data from the Feds. And it is specifically mentioned in Revelation 13, that no-one shall be allowed to BUY OR SELL without the Mark of the Beast. And, contrary to popular Bible translations, the original actually mentions that the Mark shall be carried IN the RIGHT HAND or the FOREHEAD. As far as could be found, MonDex and Verichip found these two places to be the best spots in the body to put the bugs. I guess now it is “Give me Liberty or Verichip me…”

Posted by Jacob | Report as abusive

O.K. lets go one level deeper. If these chips are able to hold our medical records and bank accounts, how is that info to be accessed?
Simply getting a multi digit code to read out does not mean that anyone has penetrated the interior of the chip memory. I’m not convinced that a wall has been breached if indeed it does exist. I want to buy one of these readers and see for myself.