Preventing Unauthorized Access On Passive Tags

Han Ding Xi'an Jiaotong University, P.R. China
Jinsong Han Xi'an Jiaotong University, P.R. China
Yanyong Zhang Rutgers University, USA
Fu Xiao Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, P.R. China
Wei Xi Xi'an Jiaotong University, P.R. China
Ge Wang Xi‘an Jiaotong University, P.R. China
Zhiping Jiang Xian Jiaotong University, P.R. China


As the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) passive Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology becomes increasingly deployed, it faces an array of new security attacks. In this paper, we consider a type of attack in which a malicious RFID reader could arbitrarily modify the tags via standard commands, e.g., IDs or other data in the memory. To deal with this type of attack, we propose a physical-layer RF signal based reader authentication solution, namely Arbitrator, that involves passively listening on RF channels, analyzing the communication signals, identifying unauthorized readers and jamming the commands from such readers. Our solution does not need to modify RFID devices or the underlying communication standards, hence fully compatible with the existing RFID infrastructure. In this study, we have implemented a prototype Arbitrator over the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) platform, and conducted extensive experiments to evaluate its performance. Our results show that Arbitrator can detect unauthorized RFID readers with high accuracy, and thus effectively diminish the unauthorized access attacks.

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