What is an RFID system and how long has this technology already existed?
RFID systems (radio frequency identification) are actually not as new as the average is assumed. As the name implies, Radio Frequency Identification is a method that works over the air to quickly locate items or animals that carry this code. This technology was already used during World War II, but has since been much improved and refined.
In the 1960s, the Swedish inventor and radio engineer used existing technology to develop the SICARID, which was used to identify railway cars. However, it took another 10 years for the RFID system to develop so well that it could be successfully used for electronic theft prevention. Only two years later, this system was used to identify animals. From here, the development of RFID systems was simply unstoppable.
RFID applications in practice
RFID technology examples
- Cashless Payment
- Access Control
- In Public Transport
- With Animals
- Sometimes even with Humans.
RFID systems vs bank card / barcode & traditional systems
The difference to a bank card or a barcode in the supermarket is that the barcode and bank card need an immediate reader.
The RFID systems are not without a reader. However, since this system operates over radio, the reader may also be far away. In this case, a magnetic field is generated that is in communication with the antenna of the transponder. Within this magnetic field is the respective command, which is executed and the corresponding data is sent back to the reader. Here, the determined data can be read at any time. Many transponders make it possible to find and read data in a large amount, with little effort.
RFID application areas beyond trade and business
Today RFID is used in commerce, industry and institutions to monitor goods and people. But also endangered animals are observed and introduced programs for the conservation of the species.
Another application is the identification of drugs or the detection of counterfeit banknotes. In fact, the field of application of the RFID system has almost no restrictions.
Advantages and disadvantages of the RFID system
Main advantage of RFID
The biggest advantage of the RFID system is that there is no need for direct contact between transmitter and receiver. That's exactly what those elements of society use that want to make their data their own.
Main disadvantage of RFID
Unfortunately, one has to be more careful with RFID credit cards and identity cards than traditional documents. Data thieves lurk around the corner, because they see in it a relatively easy prey. Therefore, several NFC / RFID protection systems such as blocker cards, purses or cases have been developed to counteract this, depending on the area.
Why would someone just steal my data
Unfortunately, far too many people still assume that someone does not know the PIN number after reading the bank card. That's true. However, they will receive the entire card number with expiration date. In many online shops that's enough to go shopping at your expense.
Cars with Keyless Go are particularly vulnerable. A study of 180 cars has shown that only one of them could withstand the unblocking.
Much more important than the car and the bank card is to protect your personal data. Many official documents, including identity card and passport, have now also integrated an RFID chip.
The cost of stolen data can go into the millions, it is data from large corporations or in the public sector. Many business owners are willing to steal data by having a security system installed that suits their needs. However, many security holes arise because a company does not use expensive RFID protection.
RFID attack methods
Below, I'll show you the traditional methods that criminals use to access your data:
Sniffing is a method that is performed during a running action. The data is monitored by the receiver and read out with the corresponding reader.
Spoofing and Replay Attacks
Spoofing takes the data theft a step further. Data is not only read out, but changed so that the reader is given the criminal authorization. This allows unauthorized persons to connect to the receiver at any time. This process is called Replay Attack and is often used in the neglect of the write protection.
In this method, the attacker is between RFID reader and tag. The stolen data is changed and the new information is forwarded to the recipient without any receiver or sender noticing.
In this case, the criminals located through the RFID chip, where the said person resides. The intention is to create a movement profile. Typically, this method is used when the credit card, identity card, and passport data already exists. One could think this concept one step further and recognize the consequences tracking could have in a police state.
Many tracking methods exist in commerce, where it is not about personal data, but the sales behavior of the buyer.