Some RFID Tags Easy to Hack, But Access Control Is Tougher

BALTIMORE — A study has found security vulnerabilities in the RFID chips used in high-security car keys and swipe-by gasoline passes. In the study, researchers at by Johns Hopkins University were able to crack the RFID chip in less than 15 minutes, making it possible for them to fool tag readers in cars and gas stations.

The research, co-sponsored by RSA Security Inc., tested RFID tags using Digital Signature Transponder (DST) technology. Researchers say the big problem is that the mathematical code used in DST is too short.

However, Holly Sacks, vice president, marketing for access control manufacturer HID Corp., says access control cards and readers use much more extensive encryption than those found in the kinds of tags tested in the study.

“HID does not use Digital Signal Transponder Technology,” Sacks says. “Security dealers/installers who are concerned about securing their RFID-based access control system installations need to work with suppliers who are experienced in developing products for the security industry and offer multiple level of authentication and layers of security.”


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