[Rack] [Noisebridge-discuss] RFID tag research (was: Problem: people seeing NB as a backup shelter)

Henner Zeller h.zeller at acm.org
Sat May 10 07:24:43 UTC 2014

On 9 May 2014 23:33, Jeffrey Carl Faden <jeffreyatw at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you so much for going ahead and making these donations! I would like
> to help out with installation, programming, whatever I can do - although
> I'm not too familiar with this sort of hardware,

Me neither, but that is the fun of it :) As long as there are cables to
solder and protocols to analyze it is cool.

> and while I can program in whatever language is necessary, I've never set
> up anything having to do with this sort of automation.

>From there, automation is simple.

> On the topic of automation, the *unofficial* consensus is that these
> readers could only be activated at a certain time, but inactive at times of
> high traffic.

Sounds doable. The door would just have a DC electric strike that is open
over the day. At other times, it locks and can only be activated with the

> Do you have ideas about who can be granted these NFC cards? I believe they
> should only be granted to associate or full members, as the benefit of
> being an associate member is the ability to be in the space without a
> sponsor. (That means if you're not one, you might want to start fishing for
> sponsorships on a wiki user page.)

Yes, full/associate members should get cards, but they can as well be
temporarily given out to people or associated for given times. It can as
well be cheap as anyone with another NFC card (e.g. a clipper card) could
be associated with the system (that way it is simple to grant some random
person with a sponsor at the place access for the day. With even further
ideas: someone with a sponsor has access for the day as long as the sponsor
has not 'checked out' with her card. A lot of door-keeping is not done
properly because it is so annoying. This could make it simple).

I am not really any of these new member categories, but might as well get
started ( Hello, old-term hackers that are all gone from NB now :( but
still know me, please sponsor me :)
https://noisebridge.net/wiki/User:Hzeller )

> The problem, of course, is that you're going to get major pushback and
> this entire project is going to be branded as "unexcellent" if you don't
> get the support you need.

Yeah, I'll check the waters on next meeting. I can't think that anyone
would be against a simplified and better access control, but then again, I
know this mailing list.

> People will certainly go so far as to dismantle the system if they don't
> agree with it. I think you should involve the Security Working Group,
> pending a future meeting, whenever that is.
> In the meantime, I'm willing to meet up to discuss this. I'm available
> midday tomorrow, around 11 to 3. I'd be happy to show up at the space to
> discuss a plan of action.

Sounds good. I think I'll show up around 11:00ish as well.


> Jeffrey
> (P.S.: in response to your email in the other thread... regardless of
> who's at the space or how safe it is, I still wouldn't leave my stuff
> there... or anywhere like NB, for that matter.)

Yeah, I know. But I'd expect to have at least stuff on a member-shelf
without random people rummaging through it. Well or find a soldering iron
if needed :/

> On Fri, May 9, 2014 at 9:41 PM, Henner Zeller <h.zeller at acm.org> wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Alright, as discussed in the other thread, lets install RFID readers for
>> physical access control to Noisebridge to address one of the problems we
>> have right now: simple access for members/associate members (or whatever
>> these are called nowadays). Initially at the top door, later as well at the
>> front door (in parallel to physical key and keypad).
>> I have researched the space a bit. For one, we have a 950Mhz reader and a
>> couple of tags. The experiments with these (
>> https://www.noisebridge.net/wiki/RFID ) had some trouble getting the
>> actual device ID, only the re-writeable part (which made them hard to use a
>> non-forgeable entry keys). These tags might actually be really useful to
>> make sure that tools and stuff don't 'vanish'.
>> So what else is there, in particular used for entry systems:
>> 125kHz tags exist, are very simple and allow to give out an ID. They are
>> pretty cheap (~30cent for a credit-card size). Their use is limited and
>> cannot be re-written.
>> Most promising I think is the NFC range of 13.57Mhz. These cards are as
>> well pretty cheap (~30cent each at first look on ebay; other form-factors
>> such as stickers exist). They come in ranges of capabilities: they all have
>> a unique ID and allow to write data to it (from 64 byte up to a couple of
>> kB). More higher end cards have encryption on-board. One of the great
>> advantages (IMHO) is, that most common smart-phones now come with an NFC
>> reader which would allow for some simple hacking. We can start with a
>> simple scheme by just reading the ID (which is more level security than we
>> need at NB), but playing with the memory for more things (changing random
>> number on each entry, or a section with your PGP public key..).
>> Anyway, unless there are good technical objections to using these kind of
>> NFC cards, I am doocratically ordering a bunch of these 13.57Mhz cards and
>> get readers and start playing; I'll donate them to NB.
>> (Anyone has 13.57Mhz cards lying around already?)
>> Henner
>> _______________________________________________
>> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
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