HID: Stop Selling Cracked 125 kHz Credentials

By: IPVM Team, Published on Nov 05, 2018

HID should stop selling cracked 125 kHz access control credentials, that have been long cracked and can easily be copied by cheap cloners sold on eBay and Amazon.

To its credit, HID has long acknowledged the vulnerability and does take steps to warn customers of the risks, as HID has explained to IPVM inside this post.

Vulnerable / Cannot Be Fixed

However, since these products are vulnerable and cannot be 'fixed', they should not be sold at all. If HID or Axis or any responsible manufacturer found a vulnerability in their firmware, they would stop selling such products until they fixed it. Since the 125 kHz vulnerability cannot be fixed via firmware or software upgrade, they should be discontinued. The video below demonstrates exploiting the vulnerability:

Transition Time

Reasonably, HID can set a period of time in the near future where they will stop manufacturing such that existing users can transition their hardware and/or credentials as appropriate.

Facilitating an EOL deadline would not exclude HID from upgrades, as HID already has 'migration hardware' available with Multiclass readers supporting an immediate reader upgrade and slower/budgeted/planned credential migration.

Using those intermediate readers is a primary method HID itself suggests for transitioning, one of the three solutions we detail in our Cracked 125kHz Access Control Migration Guide.

Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox
Get Video Surveillance News In Your Inbox

HID Largest Provider

We are calling on HID because they are the largest credentials provider and the only ones, short of government, capable of making a major market impact.

Moreover, HID could even use this as a differentiator against their smaller competitors to position themselves further as the 'market leader' who takes a strong stand in favor of 'security' at the expense of easy profits from selling vulnerability access control credentials. Notably, if HID did this, it would put pressure on rivals still selling these cracked credentials who would be viewed as still profiting from such insecurity.

Acknowledges Vulnerability

To their credit, HID acknowledges vulnerability, including a statement they provided to IPVM in response to our inquiry about discontinuing 125 kHz cards:

Moreover, HID emphasized in follow-up remarks that:

Our field teams disclose these known vulnerabilities in virtually every 1-on-1 customer (channel partner, consultant, or end customer) meeting regarding readers/credentials. These conversations are always followed by discussion of steps to mitigate the vulnerability through credential migration.

Most of our field team members have cloning devices for demonstration of attack methods.
We typically bring common cloning devices to tradeshows (e.g. GSX) where we conduct demonstrations during customer meetings in HID booth.

Despite this, HID says ~40% of the market is still using these cracked credentials and that, given that they would prefer they buy it from HID, a 'trusted partner':

as 125 kHz represents approximately 40% of the global physical access control credential market. Until there is a more substantial market shift away from the technology, we prefer that customers source it from a trusted partner.

No Warnings on HID Product Documentation

While HID has marketing materials warning of the vulnerabilities, they do not do so on their 125 kHz product documentation. The product pages and datasheets make no mention of any vulnerability nor defect. Indeed, HID markets their 'value' and how 'cost-effective' they are:

Indeed, the ProxCard II datasheet markets these cards 'security':

This is, at best, highly misleading since the issue is not the number of codes, it is that regardless of the specific code used, it can be read and copied using a cheap cloner.

The direct product documentation is quite important since specifiers and buyers often review or cite those documents when purchasing. Minimally, by including the vulnerability warning there, it would make it clearer what the risks are being exposed.


HID, by its own remarks, has placed itself in the rather remarkable position of selling against a vulnerable / defective product while simultaneously selling that defective product.

Surely, HID wants to be a 'trusted partner', as they say, and discontinuing cracked 125 kHz credentials would increase that trust while driving scores of users away from these credentials.

Vote / Poll

Comments (26) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
LifeSafety Power NetLink Vulnerabilities And Problematic Response on May 20, 2019
'Power supplies' are not devices that many think about when considering vulnerabilities but as more and more devices go 'online', the risks for...
Facial Recognition Systems Fail Simple Liveness Detection Test on May 17, 2019
Facial recognition is being widely promoted as a solution to physical access control but we were able to simply spoof 3 systems because they had no...
Maglock Selection Guide on May 16, 2019
One of the most misunderstood yet valuable pieces of electrified hardware is the maglock. Few locks are stronger, but myths and confusion surround...
Bank Security Manager Interview on May 15, 2019
Bank security contends with many significant threats - from fraudsters to robbers and more. In this interview, IPVM spoke with bank security...
Milestone XProtect 2019 R1 Tested on May 15, 2019
For the past few years, Milestone has released quarterly software updates XProtect VMS platform. What is new and how much impact do the updates...
Security Fail: ASISNYC Auto Emails Passwords In Plain Text on May 14, 2019
ASIS NYC automatically emails a user with the password the user just entered, in plain text, when one registers for the site / event, as the...
Access Control Request to Exit (RTE) Tutorial on May 13, 2019
For access controlled doors, especially those with maglocks, 'Request to Exit', or 'RTE' devices are required to override electrified locks to...
Mining Company Security Manager Interview on May 10, 2019
First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) is a global enterprise with offices on 4 continents and operations in 7 countries with exploratory operations...

Most Recent Industry Reports

NJ Law Requires Apprenticeship For Public Works Integrators on May 24, 2019
Few integrators do a formal apprenticeship program. However, now a NJ law is requiring any integrator on public works projects (such as state...
Security / Privacy Journalist Sam Pfeifle Interview on May 24, 2019
Sam Pfeifle is best known as the outspoken former Editor of Security Systems News. After that, he was publications director at the International...
Verkada Video Quality Problems Tested on May 23, 2019
Verkada suffers from numerous video quality problems, not found in commercial IP cameras, new IPVM testing of Verkada vs Axis and Hikvision...
Average Frame Rate Video Surveillance 2019 on May 23, 2019
What is the average frame rated used in video surveillance systems? In IPVM's 2011 statistics, the average was 6-8fps increasing to ~10fps in...
Access Control Job Walk Guide on May 22, 2019
Significant money can be saved and problems avoided with an access control job walk if you know what to look for and what to ask. By inviting...
ASCMA / Monitronics Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Plan on May 22, 2019
Monitronics is entering into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company, also called Ascent Capital Group Inc., aka ASCMA, aka Brinks Home Security,...
US Considers Sanctions Against Hikvision and Dahua on May 22, 2019
The US government is considering blacklisting "up to 5" PRC surveillance firms, including Hikvision and Dahua, Bloomberg reported, with human...
Dahua USA Celebrates 5 Years of Errors on May 21, 2019
Dahua USA is, in their own words, 'celebrating' 5 years in North America or as trade magazine SSN declared: Dahua Technology finds success in...
Axis ~$150 Outdoor Camera Tested on May 21, 2019
Axis has released the latest in their Companion camera line, the outdoor Companion Dome Mini LE, a 1080p integrated IR model aiming to compete with...
Covert Facial Recognition Using Axis and Amazon By NYTimes on May 20, 2019
What if you took a 33MP Axis camera covering one of the busiest parks in the US and ran Amazon Facial Recognition against it? That is what the...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact