This Tiny Piece of Circuitry Can Wirelessly Fool Magnetic Stripe Readers

By: | November 25th, 2015

The tiny piece of circuitry in the picture above, developed by Samy Kamkar, can wirelessly fool magnetic stripe readers into thinking you’ve swiped your card.

The device, called the MagSpoof, works by generating hefty magnetic fields that mimic the data held on it, developed “to store all of your credit cards and magstripes in one device.”

Kamkar explains how it works in further detail:

MagSpoof emulates a magnetic stripe by quickly changing the polarization of an electromagnet, producing a magnetic field similar to that of a normal magnetic stripe as if it’s being swiped. What’s incredible is that the magstripe reader requires no form of wireless receiver, NFC, or RFID — MagSpoof works wirelessly, even with standard magstripe readers. The stronger the electromagnet, the further away you can use it (a few inches in its current iteration).

What it consists of:

  • Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller
  • L293D H-bridge to drive the electromagnet
  • a coil of simple magnetic wire
  • a small 100mAh 3.7V lipo battery
  • a few simple LEDs, resistors, and switches.

“MagSpoof does not enable you to use credit cards that you are not legally authorized to use,” Kamkar writes on GitHub, adding that “MagSpoof requires you to have/own the magstripes that you wish to emulate.”

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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