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[ISN] Hacking electronic-toll systems


By Elinor Mills   
Security - News.com
August 6, 2008

LAS VEGAS -- Electronic toll systems like FasTrak and E-ZPass may be 
convenient for drivers, but they are rife with privacy risks, a security 
expert said Wednesday at the Black Hat 2008 security conference.

Strangers with the right transponder reader walking through a parking 
lot can steal the ID number off the transponders that are visible 
through the windshield, put the data on their devices and pass through 
bridge and other tolls for free, with the victim paying the bill, 
according to Nate Lawson, principal of security consultancy Root Labs.

The transponder ID, which lacks encryption, could be wiped and switched 
with that of a device from a different car used in a crime, such as for 
alibi purposes, he said.

The e-toll systems also pose a risk in that a driver's movements could 
be tracked in real time, and e-toll operators have already been served 
with subpoenas seeking customer information, Lawson said.

Although the ID is not personally identifiable, it can be linked in the 
back-end database to customer information like name, driver's license, 
and credit card number, he said.


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