Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

11/1/2007
09:38 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New Key Management Technology Could Improve RFID Security

Tutarus, SecureRF encrypt RFID data on the chip

A lightweight encryption technology that uses a one-time, self-destructing encryption key will land on RFID chips sometime next year, according to the firm that developed it.

Tutarus already sells the technology for the Defense Department and other government agencies for encryption projects outside of RFID, and its technology is found in email encryption programs for Outlook, as well as file security applications.

"We are a key management system, not a new form of encryption," says Ray Clayton, CTO for Tutarus. Tutarus's so-called Secure Random Key (SRK) technology uses the AES encryption algorithm, with 256-bit keys. The goal is to provide a simple encryption solution that doesn't require extra processing or store the keys where they can be cracked or stolen, according to Tutarus.

"We randomly create a key, encrypt the data and then destroy the key," Tutarus' Clayton says. "The encryption and decryption process is not taking place on the RFID chip... We are thinking about putting our [decryption] process on the 'gun' that needs to read that RFID chip. The gun would then decrypt it and present it to the user."

RFID security has been under the microscope for the past year or so as hackers have had a virtual field day, easily cracking and cloning RFID cards, and using SQL injection to dupe a card reader into opening the building to a stranger. Even the newer VeriChip locater technology can be cloned, and many RFID-based passports come with weak encryption. Part of the problem is that many RFID systems are deployed without security or authentication on the part of the cardholder. (See RFID Under Attack Again.)

Encryption is considered the missing link for securing data stored on RFID tags and cards. But the processing requirements of encrypting and decrypting public/private keys has been a major factor impeding the adoption of encryption for RFID.

"I've done a couple of pretty big RFID audits [lately] and issues with encryption keep coming up," says Joshua Perrymon, hacking director for PacketFocus Security Solutions, who says Tutarus's technology sounds promising for efficiently encrypting RFID.

RFID vendor SecureRF will begin general shipping its LIME Tag RFID tags that use public key encryption. Louis Parks, CEO of SecureRF, says his firm's technology takes up a smaller mathematical footprint than most encryption methods, handling the processing on the chip.

"Each tag has a unique private/public key pairing," Parks says. "Most people today are encrypting the data on a PC and putting the encrypted data on the RFID card, then decrypting it by taking it off and decrypting it on a PC. But the danger of that is copying the encrypted data and putting it on a rogue tag... You don't know if it's real or fake." (See SecureRF Intros Secure RFID Tag.)

Meanwhile, Tutarus' Clayton says the advantage of his firm's symmetric key approach is that every chip has its own key, and you don't need any separate machines to do the key processing.

Tutarus plans to begin testing its technology for RFID in the next two months, and will build a prototype. Clayton says he's not sure yet just how it will be packaged or its pricing, but the idea would be to place it in a generic chip.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

  • PacketFocus Security Solutions
  • SecureRF Corp.
  • Tutarus Corp.

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Stop Defending Everything
    Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
    Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
    Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
    5 Common Errors That Allow Attackers to Go Undetected
    Matt Middleton-Leal, General Manager and Chief Security Strategist, Netwrix,  2/12/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
    This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
    Flash Poll
    How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
    How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
    The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-20477
    PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
    PyYAML 5.1 through 5.1.2 has insufficient restrictions on the load and load_all functions because of a class deserialization issue, e.g., Popen is a class in the subprocess module. NOTE: this issue exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE-2017-18342.
    CVE-2019-20478
    PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
    In ruamel.yaml through 0.16.7, the load method allows remote code execution if the application calls this method with an untrusted argument. In other words, this issue affects developers who are unaware of the need to use methods such as safe_load in these use cases.
    CVE-2011-2054
    PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
    A vulnerability in the Cisco ASA that could allow a remote attacker to successfully authenticate using the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client if the Secondary Authentication type is LDAP and the password is left blank, providing the primary credentials are correct. The vulnerabilities is due to improper in...
    CVE-2015-0749
    PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
    A vulnerability in Cisco Unified Communications Manager could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site scripting (XSS) attack on the affected software. The vulnerabilities is due to improper input validation of certain parameters passed to the affected software. An attacker ...
    CVE-2015-9543
    PUBLISHED: 2020-02-19
    An issue was discovered in OpenStack Nova before 18.2.4, 19.x before 19.1.0, and 20.x before 20.1.0. It can leak consoleauth tokens into log files. An attacker with read access to the service's logs may obtain tokens used for console access. All Nova setups using novncproxy are affected. This is rel...