Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Magstripe Reading Fun

Filed under: Fun,Fun Work,Geek Work,News and Current Events,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:13 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Ever wonder what’s on that magnetic stripe on your credit card?
Well, there are ways of finding out. Or, as they say in Wilwauke, “we have ways of making you talk”! (That’s an old joke from Boy Scout camp in Pierson, Wisconson.) Interestingly enough, a gentleman with the prestigious name “Billy Hoffman” has developed a little project called StripeSnoop that is all about getting at the information. The link first came to my attention via an article at Slashdot, so if his site is down, give it a couple of days for the “new” to wear off and the Slashdotters to get over it, then go back. Mr. Hoffman’s site has information on everything you’ll need from the software to building the hardware reader. Pretty cool!
Now, some of you may be asking, “Uh, isn’t this illegal or something?” Well, as far as I know, no, it’s not. Reproducing what you read off these magstripes would definately be illegal, but just read ing it shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, the credit card companies might not want you to know what they encode on their cards, but I doubt that it’s illegal. And, what is encoded on those cards is pretty interesting. For instance, did you know that your ATM card has your PIN encoded on it? That’s why you have to go get a new card and reassign it a PIN when you lose your old one. Now, that may have changed recently, but I doubt it since banks generally fear change. And, I have to admit, I’ve always wanted to know just what that magstripe on the back of my driver’s license has on it.
In any case, it’s an interesting project and I thought I’d post it. Oh, by the way, this project is not connected with either my father, William F. Hoffman, Jr., my brother, William F. Hoffman, III, or my eldest nephew, William Thomas Hoffman. Just thought I’d clear that up. Though, you can see why the name caught my attention!

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress
Any links to sites selling any reviewed item, including but not limited to Amazon, may be affiliate links which will pay me some tiny bit of money if used to purchase the item, but this site does no paid reviews and all opinions are my own.