Hardware Attacks

Hardware Attacks

Fanyu Kong (Institute of Network Security, Shandong University, China) and Ming Li (Shandong University, China & State Grid Corporation, China)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3685-9.ch004
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In a secure system, the algorithms, protocols, and digital data are finally implemented and stored on hardware, such as chips, DSP, and registers. Knowledge of the implementation may be used to carry out attacks against the system without attacking the algorithms and protocols directly. The hardware which implements the system deserves much attention and scrutiny. Several hardware attacks are shown in this chapter, which is helpful in designing a secure RFID system.
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4.2 Cloning Attack

The main function of RFID systems is to identify different items. The identification is implemented by attaching a tag to each item. Each tag has a unique serial number (such as an EPC Code), and can be accepted by the legal reader by wireless communication. If we clone a tag, we copy the identifier of the item. This is similar to forging the signature of a file. The cloning attack is a severe challenge to many RFID applications, such as access control, ticketing, payment, passport verification and supply chains. There are also many countermeasure techniques against the cloning attack.

(Goodin, 2009) showed that Chris Paget had demonstrated how to clone the unique electronic identifier used in US passport cards and next generation drivers’ licenses using inexpensive devices. Most of the existing RFID standards and systems are vulnerable to cloning attacks. But with the application of RFID tags in more sensitive fields, such as access control, electronic passports and payment, the security against cloning attack becomes more and more significant.

Cloning of RFID tags is concealed because of the wireless signal transmission between the tags and readers. Cryptographic algorithms can be designed for some schemes to detect illegal cloning or reading. (Lehtonen et al., 2009) proposed a novel method to protect the RFID applications by detecting the different cloned RFID tags with the same ID number without the use of cryptographic methods.

As there is a lack of security consideration on existing RFID systems and standards, we should design new schemes with or without cryptographic techniques to protect RFID tags. For example, a Gen2 tag will transmit its EPC to any reader query, and an adversary can easily get it by reading the tag remotely. Since some Gen2 tags are field-programmable, they are vulnerable to cloning attacks. Therefore, authenticity for tags is required to prevent cloning attacks. Providing the authentication of readers to tags is a common way to defeat cloning attacks. Many proposed cryptographic protocols using a shared secret key to authenticate readers, such as in (Juels, 2005; 2006; Abawajy, 2009).

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