Australian researchers confirm RFID DoS attacks

Researchers at Edith Cowan University have proven Generation One Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags can be breached to cause a denial-of-service attack on the tags, using cheap store-bought radio transmitters.

Generation One tags, currently used by the US Department of Defense and many Australian organizations engaging in RFID trials, operate in the 902-938 MHz range. Researchers have proven a denial of service attack on the actual tags will cause them to enter an error state, allowing someone to input incorrect prices or alter location and destination parameters.

Ken Wild, senior research support engineer at the School of Computer and Information Science at Edith Cowan University in WA, said information protocols the tags use have been simplified greatly and has left them with a "bit of a hole".

Wild said Generation One tags have been designed to run on low power with an extended frequency range, without any room left for sophisticated, and secure, communications protocols.

"The tag receives what it considers an intelligent signal in the right kind of modulation, attempts to decode and then considers the signal as an uncorrectable error. The tags then reset themselves to an error state, the same status as the initial power-up state," Wild said.

"Generation 2 tags have got a much more sophisticated security, but they are still vulnerable at the air interface and you can still listen in.

"We have some very sophisticated monitoring at the university but in reality one could interfere with the tags using very simple gear - the transceiver we used is worth $140 dollars and that is the top end stuff."

Only recently students from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands wrote a virus to fit on an RFID tag, but vendors have since dismissed the possibility of RFID viruses saying the amount of memory in the tags is too small.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Crawford

Computerworld

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?