Browsing all articles in Magnetic Stripes

I really should have written this after ZaCon (november last year), but I’m lazy. However I have been asked to give a brief overview of the same talk at ITWeb this year so I figure I may as well finish this article and get it out :P

Candy:

Write-up:

So in the first blog post I discussed the basics of Magnetic stripes and how the tech works. I like it because its fundamentally simple (perhaps like myself ;).

This entry is going to cover spoofing, from building a spoofer to having something read the entries. Ideally you want to have a magreader at this stage, either one of the nifty USB ones that act as an HID device or one that you built that can read the tracks you are interested in. Below is a cheap TTL reader I got (cost about R150, thats ~$20):

 

This is really just so that you can “listen” to what your spoofer can generate. Magnetic stripe spoofers have been done all over the place, so please don’t think I did this, you can see some great examples HERE and HERE. Essentially however the system is dead simple, you have the ‘sound’ that you wish to play (as discussed previously), an amplifier that can crank up the volume to the level that its going to get picked up and an electromagnet (it sounds fancy, itsĀ  just wire coiled around a piece of metal – more later).

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Intro

So its been nearly a month since I last put a blog post up and I have been working on some stuff in my free time between work (been traveling to the US and took a weekend off to visit some friends in Canada). I’m not particularly in the mood to write a new post, but you know how it is, if I don’t start writing it I’ll never get round to it.

Essentially I have always been fascinated by the idea of being able to ‘hack’ with/into physical things, whether it be the Arduino and my watering system (btw you can see those stats at http://andrewmohawk.dyndns.org/AWS/), changing data on RFID cards or being that sneaky kid jackpotting ATM machines.

I started looking at magnetic stripes, mostly because they are *everywhere*, from bank cards, customer loyalty and even parking systems.

Overview

The basic gist of the system is that there are many tiny magnets or magnetic particles (usually iron oxide) which are magnetized in a specific manner within a magstripe. Essentially you take the card (or think of it as many magnets) and put it next to a magnetic reader (card reader) which then reads the fields. These fields are then taken to good ol 1’s and 0’s and used within backend systems after a bit of decoding.

The magnetic stripe on a card is actually made up of 3 different ‘stripes’ or tracks (usually – different types of cards will have a different number of tracks), right above each other. Each of these tracks can hold different amounts of data and for the basic breakdown you can read up about em at http://www.gae.ucm.es/~padilla/extrawork/tracks.html and http://www.ded.co.uk/magnetic-stripe-card-standards/

TL;DR – Track 2/3 = Numbers, Track1 = UPPERCASE,numbers
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