The technology, based on one or more unique physical attributes of individual tags rather than information stored on them, will prevent the production of counterfeit tags and thus greatly enhance both security and privacy for government agencies, businesses and consumers.
“RFID tags embedded in objects will become the standard way to identify objects and link them to the cyberworld,” said Dale R. Thompson, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering. “However, it is easy to clone an RFID tag by copying the contents of its memory and applying them to a new, counterfeit tag, which can then be attached to a counterfeit product – or person, in the case of these new e-passports. What we’ve developed is an electronic fingerprinting system to prevent this from happening.”
Thompson and Jia Di, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering and co-principal investigator on the project, refer to the system as a fingerprint because they discovered that individual tags are unique, not because of the data or memory they contain, but because of radio-frequency and manufacturing differences.
As Thompson mentioned, RFID tags are becoming more prevalent. They have been used in a wide range of applications, including government processes, industry and manufacturing, supply-chain operations, payment and administration systems, and especially retail.
“In spite of this wide deployment, security and privacy issues have to be addressed to make it a dependable technology,” Thompson said.
A passive RFID tag harvests its power from an RFID reader, which sends radio frequency signals to the tag. The tag, which consists of a microchip connected to a radio antenna, modulates the signal and communicates back to the reader. Working with an Avery Dennison M4E testcube designed for determining the best placement of RFID tags on packages, Thompson, Di and students in the Security, Network, Analysis and Privacy Lab measured tags’ minimum power response at multiple frequencies.
The researchers did this using an algorithm that repeatedly sent reader-to-tag signals starting at a low power value and increasing the power until the tag responded. Radio frequencies ranged from 903 to 927 megahertz and increased by increments of 2.4 megahertz. These measurements revealed that each tag had a unique minimum power response at multiple radio frequencies. Moreover, power responses were significantly different for same-model tags.
“Repeatedly, our experiments demonstrated that the minimum power response at multiple frequencies is unique for each tag,” Thompson said. “These different responses are just one of several unique physical characteristics that allowed us to create an electronic fingerprint to identify the tag with high probability and to detect counterfeit tags.”
Like other electronics equipment, cost and size have driven development of RFID technology. This emphasis means that most tags have limited computational capabilities; they do not include conventional encryption algorithms and security protocols to prevent cloning and counterfeiting. The electronic fingerprinting system addresses these concerns without increasing the cost or physically modifying the tag, Thompson said. The method can be used along with other security protocols for identification and authentication because it is independent of the computational capabilities and resources of the tag.
Thompson and Di are also developing network circuits that are resistant to side-channel attacks against readers and tags.
CONTACTS:Dale R. Thompson, associate professor, computer science and computer engineering
Matt McGowan | Newswise Science News
The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today
27.04.2017 | Technische Universität Ilmenau
Five developments for improved data exploitation
19.04.2017 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences