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RFID Security

Security: It looks like the security people are starting to take a look at RFID, and it’s not pretty.

I link-blogged this the other day — RFDump is a tool to display and modify data in RFID tags — including deployed ones, at least in some cases. (Think rewriting the price tags in a shop, scrambling the tracking numbers on a warehouse full of goods, or corrupting frequent-shopper data on a card.)

It looks like this was also discussed at USENIX Security ’04 in an RSA presentation (those notes are swarming with typos, but the content’s there ;)

That talk has some interesting stuff — ‘blocker’ tags which spoof readers with gibberish data, or crash the collision-detection network protocol; while that’s being discussed as a security tool here, if the protocol is that hackable, and the hardware is available, I could see that having additional interesting effects in a supermarket. Of course, range is an issue — but that hasn’t stopped Bluetooth hacking, wardriving, etc.

If you ask me, it looks an awful lot like RFID is chock-full of security holes, and the features that make it so attractive (low power use, low cost, tiny size) will be the very features that militate against adding security. We could be in for interesting times here…

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