RFID Guardian, open hardware/software to firewall your RFID tags

The RFID Guardian project has released the hardware and software schematics for the latest version of its personal RFID firewall. The RFID Guardian is a device that detects all the RFID tags on your person (passport, transit pass, bank-card, toll-card, car keys, etc), and interdicts them so that they can't answer queries anymore. The Guardian can clone all of these tags, and emit their signal on demand, but unlike a dumb tag, the Guardian only emits when you tell it to, and gives you a central way to set and enforce policy about when you will be identified and by whom.

The new version is completely open, and the relaunched RFID Guardian site includes a wiki, source code repository and bug-tracker. Link (Thanks, Melanie!)

See also: Personal firewall for the RFIDs you carry


  1. How does it interdict the existing tags? Through some sort of jamming? Or does it rewrite the content of the tags? (Is that possible?)

    I did try checking out their hardware specs, but everything seems to be in PDF files that I don’t want to trawl through. Anyone know off-hand?

  2. I saw a demo — yeah, they interdict them by jamming them so that their responses are indecipherable by readers.

  3. Neat idea, but you wouldn’t want to bring that to the airport along with your RFID-passport… the KGB-TSA would send your ass to Abu Ghraib for having an “Improvised Electronic Device”.

    “Improvised Electronic Device”.. what a bullshit term anyway.

  4. That site is very low on details, I was hoping they would at least say what frequency of RFID tags they’re claiming to work with, but after 10 minutes of searching I couldn’t find a single mention of frequency.

    My guess is that this is either LF only, HF only or maybe LF / HF, but almost certainly isn’t UHF:


    To do what they claim, their device needs to be a full-fledged tag reader, otherwise it couldn’t clone the tags. This isn’t too hard with LF/HF tags because they’re slow and use very simple anti-collision protocols (if any), but it is very hard with UHF tags. It’s especially hard if you’re trying to run off a battery.

    RFID tags used in animal tracking, key fobs, etc. tend to be LF/HF tags, so this device could work with them. Inventory tags (like the ones used in the Wal*Mart trials) are UHF and so I don’t think this device would even recognize them, let alone jam / clone / mimic them.

  5. Fine idea for toll cards and car keys, but I think it’s probably illegal to alter passports in this way. It’d be like crossing out your name and age, but writing it down on a piece of paper.

  6. @5 – Bullshit. You’re not altering the passport in anyway. IMO, the right to use a device such as this would absolutely be held up under the implied right to privacy provided by the Bill of Rights.

  7. Using this device to hide your RFID tags would probably be legal, as indicated, under the implied right to privacy. Similarly, you could wear foil pants to accomplish the same task.

    However, there’s no law in place that requires anyone to accept the RFID data emitted by this device as if it were emitted by the original device, for hopefully obvious reasons.

    So, you could probably use this to hide the data on your passport, but it wouldn’t help you get on a plane. You’d still have to hand over your real passport and allow them to scan the RFID.

  8. A better comparison would be to a photocopy of your passport – which is not likely to get you onto a plane, but does carry some weight, still (especially, say, if the original has been lost or stolen).

  9. Is it too late to ask if we really want to go down this path?

    Does the existence of this device convey our tacit acceptance that RFIDification is already a done deal?

    I’d feel a lot better about an RFID fryer. Because I don’t think we’ve done the dialog yet. And I’m dismayed by the world we’re heading for.

  10. Just a though but, I believe that you could probably use a “faraday sleeve”
    From Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage

    “…passport and credit card shielding sleeves are small, portable Faraday cages.”

    This solves the issues discussed above, and is after all simple and reliable to use.

  11. Do you know the USDA wants ALL privately owned livestock animals to be chipped for purpose of owners filing reports on every birth, death and off property movement those animals make? Digital Angel is in on the ground floor of this program called NAIS. The chip they chose is reprogrammable.

    This program is called NAIS (national animal identification system) will force everyone who owns even one livestock animal on a private level, say as pets or for their own consumption, to register their premises with the government, microchip and file reports to the govt on every birth, death and off property move those animals make. If animal disease is suspected an entire 6 mile radius of animals can be depopulated (killed). Think I am kidding? I only wish I were.

    NAIS is a business plan for corporate agriculture, even though the USDA is pushing it as an animal disease tracking plan. But even Granny’s hens, my horses and pet pot belly pigs in suburbia are included by having to tag and track and report all their births, deaths and off property movements. Why? So corporate ag can tell the world what a safe meat supply they have and Japan will buy that beef. But they only have one lot number per groups of animals, no chipping and few reporting events. Yup! Makes sure sense to me. Just like me having a disease but I force YOU to take and pay for the meds, then I travel the world declaring I am disease free. I am not against big ag making money, but the rest of us are forced to be part of that scheme and get none of the profits, just the onerous responsibilites of making is seem like big ag has safe beef. see nonais.org for more info.

  12. Good night,
    Mr. of Boingboing
    The article is very good. I like and I think everyone need see it, and understand, finally what is RFID.
    I have a group and we’re doing a source about technology of tracking cattle, and we see necessity to made a source too about technology RFID. We need know about:
    *How softwares are available to use with this technology
    *Have some hardware? How?
    Thanks for this space, I’m waiting some feedback.
    Jonathan Lopes(Jh*nL*ÇK&)

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