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

Security threats for RFID systems  Untitled
 Commonly discussed security threats for RFID systems




When considering the security challenges of RFID in a broader perspective, one has to take into account the infrastructure including a back office where additional information of all tags is stored, and the aspect of convenience in use. A general architecture of RFID systems is depicted in :


User Interface 

Figure : A general RFID architecture


Real-life RFID deployments employ a wide variety of physically distributed RFID readers, access gateways, and databases. The middleware of the gateway receives events from the RFID readers when tags are scanned. These events are passed through a number of filters, which process the events in an application-specific manner (e.g. by filtering irrelevant or faulty data out). When an event has passed through all filters, it is dispatched to the components that have registered an interest in such events. Often, one of these components will store the event in a database, for further processing. 


RFID readers are generally connected to the middleware using modular drivers much like Windows uses device drivers to communicate with a graphics card. This allows different readers to be used with the middleware, without having to modify the middleware. 


In addition to event-processing, the middleware handles different kinds of user interfaces. A user interface is generally provided for system-management purposes, for example to modify the series of filters through which an event is passed. There will also be user interfaces that allow regular users to access the system and use it. For example, in a supermarket distribution centre, there will be a user interface that provides information on the current stock levels. 


The middleware also communicates with other software systems, which implement the application’s business logic. To stay with the supermarket example, it is likely that the supermarket RFID system is connected to a stock management system, which orders new stock from suppliers before it runs out. 

A good overview on security aspects of RFID and related systems can be found in the “Guidance for Securing RFID Systems” published by the (U.S.) National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).






Security threats for RFID systems  fidis-wp3-del3.7.Structured_Collection_RFID_02.sxw  Commonly discussed security threats for RFID systems
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