VeriChip VeriEasy To Clone, Researchers Say

from the not-inspiring-much-confidence dept

For some time we've been following the colorful past of RFID maker VeriChip, a company that promotes implanting RFID chips in humans for identification purposes. As if the stated goal of the company wasn't disturbing enough, it has a history of lying to regulators and to the public about the nature of its devices, and how they would be used. Now, two researchers, presenting at a hacker conference, have demonstrated that the company's chips can easily be cloned, essentially allowing an individual to assume another's identity. Not surprisingly, this stands in contradiction to VeriChip's claim that their products are impossible to counterfeit. In fact, the researchers claim that the company's chips have no security mechanism whatsoever. For its part, VeriChip has responded saying it hasn't reviewed the evidence, and that it's still easier to steal someone's ID out of a wallet than it is to gain information from a chip in someone's arm. That may be true, but when your wallet is stolen, you can realize it quickly and alert the relevant authorities. How do you know when someone's passed by you with a wireless scanner? If fingerprint identification can be defeated with Play-Doh, and someone can clone your embedded identity chip without you knowing it, there's something to be said for old-fashioned, disposable ID systems.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    jinx, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 8:15am

    paranoia anyone

    I would like to take a moment to announce my fall fashion line made entirely out of tinfoil.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Franssu, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 8:22am

    VeriChip is just another junk tech company trying to make quick money out of the fascists that are now ruling America, like Diebold and others.

    It's a pretty easy thing, since fascists tend to be kinda stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Basta, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 8:28am

    Identity has lost it's sanctity

    I've had my identity stolen in the past and the idea of putting a chip in my arm, regardless of how easily it can be copied, makes me feel no safer than when my social security card was copied back in '98 by an illegal immigrant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    lucent, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 8:38am

    VeriChip VeriEasy To Clone

    Wasn't there a recent hack on RFID tags anyway? Not to sure if it is relavent but if it can be hacked would there be a need to clone it? Just a thought.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Stephen, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 8:58am

    What's wrong with an "off" switch??

    Why do all these companies refuse to just include an "off" switch?? Putting a chip in my arm may help with medical emergencies and all that, but why would I want it always on when I only need it like once a decade??

    Same with credit cards. Why the fark do I need a card always looking out to try and buy something when I only buy something once or twice a day??

    Let me turn the dang thing off and it'll go a long way to making me want to actually use one of these things...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    jsnbase, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 8:59am

    I'll need a little more than this

    'For its part, VeriChip has responded saying it hasn't reviewed the evidence, and that it's still easier to steal someone's ID out of a wallet than it is to gain information from a chip in someone's arm.'

    If you're going to implant something in my arm, I'm gonna need a bit more assurance than 'it's easier to grab your wallet.' Something like: 'it's easier to castrate an angry female alligator than it is to gain information from the chip.' Or maybe 'it's easier to unravel space-time.'

    But easier than stealing a wallet? Come on, if I put my wallet in the wrong pocket it takes me three hours to find it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous of Course, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 9:23am

    Baaa Baaa

    My dog has a chip in its ear. It's also a common
    practice for livestock. Cattle, sheep and goats,
    emu and pigs are "chipped."

    I know governments treat their population as
    livestock and would like better asset management.

    I'm simply not ready for a constant reminder, that
    little bump just below the skin, just yet.

    I never understimate the motivational power of
    money. Given time most any scheme will be
    subject to fraud. Can an identification system be
    cost effective and acceptably fraud resistant?
    Who decides the price point and the tolerable
    level of risk?

    I think this needs an ANSI standards comitte... or
    something. Not people of dubious reputation and
    their shady company driving the standard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Bakken, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 9:27am

    It's not stealing if you don't get caught

    I would imagine that hardest part about stealing someones wallet, would be to try and do so without them knowing. Now if I had a wireless scanner and I ran through a crowed of people with these RFIDs, I bet I could get everyones info without them even knowing. So which would be easier again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Lay Person, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 9:32am


    Yup ,this is just another lame invention that will never fulfill all that it promises.

    If it's tangible, it can be replicated--end of story.

    What we need are DNA scanners. All you do is muster up a big oyster and spit it out on to the scanner lens. The scanner verifies your DNA then, based on it's reference, permits/denies entry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    tim stevens, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 10:51am

    Annalee Newitz (hot nerd girl with chip) and Jonathan Westhues (smart nerd guy with cloner) are just the types that VeriChip should fear. They have no agenda other than exposing the dishonesty and incompetence of VeriChip.

    To quote Jonathan (see Johnathan's analysis, "The Verichip is a repurposed dog tag; there is no reason (counterfeit housepets?) why it would have been designed with any security features, and in fact it was not."

    Of course when VeriChip responded saying " hasn't reviewed the evidence..." it sounds just like the FTC and FCC when there is a massive loss of personal data (a la the recent Veterans data loss via laptop): "...there is no evidence to suggest that anyone's persona data was compomised..." Wonderful. Either someone is too good to get caught or the responsible parties are too slow to know how to do anything about it.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    ebrke, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 12:18pm


    The simple fact that they stated that their product is "impossible to counterfeit" should be enough to raise a huge red flag. Oversimplifications like that leave any company's credibility in the garbage dumpster.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Phillip Vector, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 2:32pm

    Impossible to Counterfit

    You know, I used to be in this game that was played in New York called "The Nexus". We had our own currency that the maker of the game said was impossible to copy. A brief meeting with some fellow players and a trip to kinkos and we litterally printed our own money, flooded the market with the funny money (and kept the real money to ourselves) and announced that it was copied and how to spot it (we included a watermark with our money).

    If you say something is impossible to a hacker, that just makes them want to prove you wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Bhagaban, Jul 25th, 2006 @ 12:05am

    VeriChip in neck deep trouble

    The revelation would put US-based chipmaker in neck deep trouble. VeriChip Corporation who for the long time is promoting that its chips are reliable for human tracking will find it difficult to get deal from Bush Administration to track immigrants and guest workers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2006 @ 10:01am

    If it was your medical record implanted, why would anyone want to steal that?

    On another post, there actually is an off switch, you just wouldn't like where they put it (can you say "Bend Over")

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Page Esquire, Jul 27th, 2006 @ 7:17pm

    what the f*£$*

    Ok, does anybody think freedom from sight is important "privacy" if there's a chip they can find it via satellite and then see you. what happens when theany government turns on it's people? I maybe paranoid, but I'd rather a fighting chance. Think Iraq or Israel. OH GOD!!!??!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    James, Jul 28th, 2006 @ 7:04am


    Has any one ever wonder what the heck Veri really means? I did some quick search have seen it on

    Verichip , verizon, verisign, verivisa ,

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Mrs Fudd, Aug 7th, 2006 @ 6:43am

    Re: What's wrong with an "off" switch??

    There might be some merit in relying on RFID for medical emergencies -- unless you happen to be the good samaritan who comes to my rescue after I've been in any-number-of-situations that result in me needing CPR and mouth to mouth. Imagine how valuable it would be for you, the average citizen, to be the hero and perform mouth to mouth -- but since you didn't scan me first to discover that I'm severely allergic to what you just ate or handled at lunch, I die on the spot.

    There's something to be said for the low-tech devices like MedicAlert bracelets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    InfoWars07, May 23rd, 2007 @ 10:34pm


    This is part of the world goverment say no to the chip .Is all part of the New world order.please check out learn the truth..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    ..., May 9th, 2008 @ 9:16am

    people dont realive what there doing when the take this chip. they a denouncing jusus christ our lord and savior. the bible couldnt have been more clear in revelations when it said in one verse that no one will be able to but or sell with out the mark. the mark is the mark of the beast but no one realizes it now! it started when they put chips in aminals like your cats and dogs. they are trying to put chips in new born babies. then its going to try to get us, by saying it helps with the sucurity issues, and identity theif. and then there giong to want us to strart buying and selling using it. its all supposed to happen though. thats why you need to be saved and never accept that chip bacuse the cost is your eternal life in heave with jusus christ. so be for its to late you need to get right with god.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    tcool, Mar 3rd, 2010 @ 11:00am

    veri chip

    Where do i order?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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