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The Evolution of RFID Security
January-March 2006 (vol. 5 no. 1)
pp. 62-69
Melanie R. Rieback, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Bruno Crispo, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
RFID is a contactless identification technology that augments real-world objects with remotely-powered computing capabilities. Even though RFID-tagging of objects such as passports, pets, prisoners, and even the elderly seems revolutionary and unprecedented, RFID technology itself has a rich history that began with Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) systems during World War II. This article charts the parallel evolution of RFID technology and its security and privacy threats and solutions. Historical RFID-based systems faced constant security threats, and many of these attacks (and their defenses) have since been canonized as classical signal warfare and countermeasures. Examining RFID and its threats from a historical perspective lets us learn from past experiences and enables us to reuse old solutions. More importantly, looking back provides us as researchers with inspiration to devise new solutions, so we can lead RFID security research into the future.

This article is part of a special issue on RFID Technology.

Index Terms:
radio frequency identification, RFID, security, privacy, history
Melanie R. Rieback, Bruno Crispo, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, "The Evolution of RFID Security," IEEE Pervasive Computing, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 62-69, Jan.-March 2006, doi:10.1109/MPRV.2006.17
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