Will your phone get hacked if you scan the TNG RFID bar code?! Take a look at the viral claim, and find out what the facts really are!
Updated @ 2023-11-17 : Added new version, and more details.
Originally posted @ 2023-05-10
Claim : Scanning TNG RFID Bar Code Can Hack Your Phone!
This warning about an RFID bar code scam has gone viral on WhatsApp, and social media, claiming that scammers are sending people free TNG RFID stickers, and asking them to scan the bar code.
Allegedly, scanning the TNG RFID bar code will cause your phone to be hacked by these scammers!
They send the RFID to you. When you scan the bar code they hack your hp
It’s a scam
他们将 RFID 发送给您。 当您扫描条形码时，他们会入侵您
Mereka menghantar RFID kepada anda. Apabila anda mengimbas kod bar mereka menggodam anda
Ia satu penipuan ☠️👻💩😱😰
If you get this free RFID card via courier, please throw away. Another scam.
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Truth : Scanning TNG RFID Bar Code Will NOT Hack Your Phone!
This is yet another example of FAKE NEWS circulating on WhatsApp and social media, and here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : TNG RFID Bar Code Cannot Hack Your Phone
First of all – let me just say that the TNG RFID bar code cannot hack your phone. In fact, no one can hack your phone just because you scan an RFID bar code.
The bar code is nothing more than a series of numbers, which you can readily see printed under the bar code. These numbers cannot possibly hack your phone / smartphone.
Fact #2 : TNG Bar Code Is Used To Register RFID Sticker
The bar code visible in the clear window of the TNG RFID self-fitment kit is merely the serial number for the RFID sticker (also known as an RFID tag).
This serial number is used to register the RFID sticker, by scanning scan the bar code using the TNG eWallet mobile app. All it does is link the RFID sticker to your TNG eWallet account, so that all toll charges are automatically deducted from that account.
Fact #3 : TNG RFID Swapping Can Be Easily Detected
One of our readers suggested that the scammer might have swapped out the bar code, to trick you into registering a different TNG RFID sticker owned by the scammer.
This would allow the scammer to use his/her TNG RFID sticker to go through highway tolls for free, while you would be charged for his/her travels.
While that is plausible, it would be quickly detected by the victim who would not be able to use the RFID sticker to get through the toll. The victim would also be able to detect the illegal charges to his/her TNG eWallet account.
Fact #4 : TNG RFID Is Unique To Each Chip
One of our readers suggested that the scammer may be trying to trick people into scanning the barcode of a duplicated RFID sticker. The scammer can then use the duplicate RFID sticker to go through tolls, which would be charged to the victims’ TNG eWallet accounts.
Now, Touch ‘n Go has not revealed much about how it is protecting its RFID stickers, only saying that each TNG RFID sticker has an embedded radio-frequency chip that makes every sticker “unique to each customer”.
But that suggests that the RFID stickers are not only encrypted, the chip has a private key that prevents duplication, which makes a lot of sense. Without such encryption and private key, anyone can literally just read the number off any RFID sticker in a parking lot, and duplicate it in a programmable RFID sticker.
Unless the scammer has somehow stolen the private keys, and can perfectly duplicate the RFID stickers, this seems like an improbable scam. More so when the scammers would be limited to using the tolls for free. Hardly worth the effort, if you ask me.
Fact #5 : There Are Easier + Cheaper Ways To Hack Your Phone
Truth be told – there are far easier and cheaper ways to hack your phone, than send you a free RFID sticker and ask you to scan the bar code.
These scammers will have to put in considerable expense and technical expertise into hacking the TNG eWallet app, and inserting their malware that the fake RFID number would trigger.
But why bother? If they can hack the TNG eWallet, they don’t even need to send you any fake RFID bar code to scan!
Making fake RFID stickers (tags) that look like genuine TNG RFID self-fitment kits costs money. Sending these fake kits also put them at risk, because deliveries can be traced.
There are many other ways to compromise your smartphone. There is simply no reason why scammers to waste time and money on such a convoluted scheme.
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Fact #6 : Packages Do Get Delivered Wrongly
The most plausible explanation for receiving a free TNG RFID sticker out of the blue is that it was wrongly delivered to you. If you receive one, check the name and address on the package. It may not be meant for you. In that case, contact the delivery company and have them resend it to the right person.
I have also personally experienced receiving packages that I did not order, some of which appear to be sent due to a database error of some sort – my name and phone number are on the package, but the address was wrong or non-existent.
Out of an abundance of caution, just don’t install any RFID sticker that you did not order. Or you can call up TNG to verify that the RFID sticker is legitimate.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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