Hertz to try RFID Rather Than Keys for Rentals

Illustration for article titled Hertz to try RFID Rather Than Keys for Rentals

A Hertz at the Nice Cote d'Azur Airport in France will begin using RFID to start up and check out cars, rather than keys. A group of 60 frequent Hertz customers will be guinae pigs in this test to see if using RFID-enabled cards for vehicles will speed the rental process. There are 10 Renault Megane cars equipped with the RFID technology.


The users will no longer have to deal with customer service agents. They will go up to a display board, find the location of their car and simply go get it. When their RFID card is close to the display screen it will configure the card to be linked to the specific car. Sounds like a pretty damn cool system, but the question remains: how secure is it? Having your rental hacked and stolen in a red light district in France could be disastrous ... maybe.

Hertz Trial Uses RFID Cards Instead of Keys [RFID Journal]

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Jeff the Riffer

The photo isn't related to the article. From the article, the RFID reader in the car will be hidden away and there will be an antenna attached to the windshield.

The device shown in the picture is some sort of speakerphone/dialing interface for a cellphone. possibly an integrated cellphone for luxury rentals?

As for RFID security, well, there isn't much secure about RFID in nature. It's about convenience. RFID isn't really new either, it's been around for decades. But in recent years minaturization has allowd RFID chips to be placed in very small places, readers to be very compact and inexpensive and of course wireless networks and powerful, tiny computers means there's a lot more applications for them.

Cloning of RFID chips has already been demonstrated at the recent Black Hat conference. RFID chips can also be read from a much greater distance than vendors claim with the appropriate equipment. And since there's no authentication or encryption mechanisms built-in to RFID, there's lots of ways to exploit it.

Hertz is doing this to save money, since if they can get customers through with less interfacing with employees, they can layoff more workers. Like most businesses (and people), they're greed is overriding any concerns about security. Assuming this gets implemented wide-scale, eventually there will be a high-profile case of car theft, disabling or other malicious act which will force them to adopt a more secure system.

(Sorry for the long post, I've had pent-up commentary ever since Gizmodo hosed my account)