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Device Synchronisation: A Practical Limitation on Reader Assisted Jamming Methods for RFID Confidentiality

Abstract : Radio frequency identification (RFID) is a core component of the Internet-of-Things. In certain cases the communication between the tag and the reader needs to be confidential. Some passive RFID tags have very limited computational power and can therefore not implement standard cryptographic mechanisms. This has led to several proposals where data sent by the RFID tag is ‘hidden’ by noisy signals generated by the RFID reader. The RFID reader can remove the noise but third-party adversaries cannot, thereby ensuring a confidential backward-channel for tag data without the need for cryptography. Although this is a promising research direction there are also some practical limitations on the effectiveness of such schemes. This paper shows that at least one recent scheme is vulnerable to data recovery despite varying the reader’s transmission power if there is a slight difference in the phase of the reader’s blocking signal and the tag’s data. We experimentally verify our attack and conclude that our eavesdropping and data recovery approach is effective and realistic. Finally we test three possible mitigation methods and show that two of the three approaches can provide protection against our attack while having little impact on the bit error rate of the reader in decoding the tag data.
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https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01442545
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Submitted on : Friday, January 20, 2017 - 4:47:46 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 20, 2017 - 4:52:45 PM
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Qiao Hu, Lavinia Dinca, Gerhard Hancke. Device Synchronisation: A Practical Limitation on Reader Assisted Jamming Methods for RFID Confidentiality. 9th Workshop on Information Security Theory and Practice (WISTP), Aug 2015, Heraklion, Crete, Greece. pp.219-234, ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-24018-3_14⟩. ⟨hal-01442545⟩

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