How to build a low-cost, extended-range RFID skimmer

Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 1:07 AM EST

Radio-Frequency Identifier (RFID) technology, using the ISO-14443 standard, is becoming increasingly popular, with applications like credit-cards, national-ID cards, E-passports, and physical access control. The security of such applications is clearly critical. A key feature of RFID-based systems is their very short range: Typical systems are designed to operate at a range of 5-10cm. Despite this very short nominal range, Kfir and Wool predicted that a rogue device can communicate with an ISO-14443 RFID tag from a distance of 40-50cm, based on modeling and simulations. Moreover, they claimed that such a device can be made portable, with low power requirements, and can be built very cheaply. Such a device can be used as a stand-alone RFID skimmer, to surreptitiously read the contents of simple RFID tags.

At www.eng.tau.ac.il

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