Summary

RFID allows companies to perform functions never before possible using previous technologies such as barcodes. RFID connects and integrates the entire supply chain, providing real-time tracking and solving inventory problems. Nevertheless, some of the first RFID applications were used to compromise individual privacy (for instance, "The Thing").

Though RFID can be very useful, RFID also brings new vulnerabilities with it. Some attacks are simply transitioned from other technology and applied to RFID, whereas others are original exploitations of the RFID technology.

Realistically, vendors should always look at the security implications of RFID technology and implement basic security features initially. Yet, seldom does it work this way. Operational assets almost always gain precedence over security issues, so security professionals must develop solutions to secure next-generation RFID networks.

Most existing deployed RFID systems don't have sufficient built-in security features. RFID system vendors often don't assume a hostile environment. However, with more widespread availability of knowledge and tools such as RFID simulators, the entry barrier to RFID hacks is gradually shrinking.

Thus, new RFID deployments should have a clear security emphasis. Most of the IT industry understands that security by obscurity is not a viable strategy. However, proprietary RFID systems based on security by obscurity are still commonplace. The security-aware IT expert will undoubtedly prefer systems based on openly documented and well-researched protocols and encryption algorithms.

Everyone should keep in mind that transmission power is the key to many RFID attacks. Attackers will always have the advantage in this since they are likely to use transmission power in excess of regulatory approval.

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