Japanese teen smokers hack age verification with bank-notes

Paul Raven @ 08-07-2008

Tokyo vending machinesEverything can and will be hacked; once you have the motivation sussed, the exploits will be close behind.

Point in case: Japanese cigarette vending machines have age-verification cameras fitted to them to prevent teens from illegally purchasing tobacco. A great idea, and a typically Japanese high-tech fix for a social problem, right? [image by midorisyu]

Well, it might have been – if the kids hadn’t sussed out that the cameras can be fooled by not just pictures from magazines but the portraits of historical figures on bank-notes. Back to the drawing board – I wouldn’t want to be on the R&D team of the company that makes those vending machines right now.

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2 Responses to “Japanese teen smokers hack age verification with bank-notes”

  1. SMD says:

    Wouldn’t it be more efficient to have both a card reader (put a little data strip on the back of the ID) and the camera? Granted, you’d have kids stealing, but you’d think that would work better to some extent…or, you know, don’t have vending machines for products you don’t want kids to get…

  2. Claes says:

    they sell everything in vending machines in Japan – liquor (everything from cups of sake to bottles of whiskey), porn etc etc. And the really strange thing in my experiance is that the kids actually don’t by any of it if they’re underaged. I can’t decide if I think that is sane and well-mannered or just fucked up.