HOW TO – disable RFID tags

HOW TO – disable RFID tags


Got RFID tags you’re worried about? No problem! Instuctables user w1n5t0n writes:

The main reason someone would want to block or destroy RFID chips would be to maintain privacy. In the last step I explained that RFID tags can be read from very long distances. The potential for abuse of this technology grows as more and more products and devices are being created with these tags built in.

-The easiest way to kill an RFID, and be sure that it is dead, is to throw it in the microwave for 5 seconds. Doing this will literally melt the chip and antenna making it impossible for the chip to ever be read again. Unfortunately this method has a certain fire risk associated with it. Killing an RFID chip this way will also leave visible evidence that it has been tampered with, making it an unsuitable method for killing the RFID tag in passports. Doing this to a credit card will probably also screw with the magnetic strip on the back making it un-swipeable.

-The second, slightly more convert and less damaging, way to kill an RFID tag is by piercing the chip with a knife or other sharp object. This can only be done if you know exactly where the chip is located within the tag. This method also leaves visible evidence of intentional damage done to the chip, so it is unsuitable for passports.

-The third method is cutting the antenna very close to the chip. By doing this the chip will have no way of receiving electricity, or transmitting its signal back to the reader. This technique also leaves minimal signs of damage, so it would probably not be a good idea to use this on a passport.

-The last (and most covert) method for destroying a RFID tag is to hit it with a hammer. Just pick up any ordinary hammer and give the chip a few swift hard whacks. This will destroy the chip, and leave no evidence that the tag has been tampered with. This method is suitable for destroying the tags in passports, because there will be no proof that you intentionally destroyed the chip.

Read the entire Instructable on where the most common RFID tags are and other ways to shield data transmission without disabling the tag. Via BoingBoing.


4 thoughts on “HOW TO – disable RFID tags

  1. beakmyn says:

    Microwaves will not hurt the magnetic stripe. I’ve tested this out after making 3 requests to customer service for non-rfid enabled cards and getting 2 rfid enabled cards.

    So, 5-7 second in a 1000 watt microwave will fry the antenna. The card stripe is intact and unaffected. This was tested with a card reader before and after the microwaving.

  2. Aud1073cH says:

    I’ve seen a couple projects on the web about making a small EMP device to overload and fry the RFID chips using the flash circuit from a disposable camera, and exchanging the flash lamp for a coil of wire placed near the tag.

    Makers should take caution, as the energy stored in flash capacitors can really pack a punch.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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