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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Crawford

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?