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D3.7 A Structured Collection on Information and Literature on Technological and Usability Aspects of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

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 Security threats for RFID systems


Backend systems

Valid data received from RFID tags is passed by the middleware to the backend system. The backend system is where data is manipulated and stored, and forms the data resource for the system users. Typically the backend system incorporates some sort of database which allows the linking of the RFID data to other stored information or storing of the tag details themselves. For example, a given bit string RFID tag code is essentially useless as a piece of data in isolation, but if this unique code is associated with a given product or person, then the backend system can be used to cross reference the code and thus reveal the identity of the tagged item. Equally, a backend system may simply record the occurrences of RFID tags in specific locations, and thus tracking of tags becomes possible even if the identity of the tagged item is unknown.  

The construction of the backend system is very application specific and can range from one computer which simply logs data, to banks of machines which perform complex analysis on data from thousands of distributed readers. Notably the backend system need not be geographically near to the RFID readers. Typical applications involve real time payment systems for access such as cashless motorway tollbooths. A brief overview on current areas of application of RFID is given in chapter .

The generally centralised database structure of backend systems makes them vulnerable from a security perspective. Essentially while reading RFID tags has associated privacy issues, it is widely understood that the easily exploitable data is most likely located in the databases – i.e. personal details, credit card numbers and so on. These issues will be further elaborated in the next chapter. 






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