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Boffins working on RFID super-shield

Guarding the guards

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A group of Dutch researchers at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, led by PhD student Melanie Rieback, is building RFID Guardian, a personal RFID firewall to allow individuals to monitor and control access to RFID tags.

Rieback presented the latest results of the project to build the prototype at last week's Emerging Technology conference.

The idea was inspired by a comment from Katherine Albrecht, Spychips author and long-time campaigner against loyalty cards and RFID tags. To wit: that she doesn't want people to be able to read through her clothes what kind of bra she is wearing.

The project aims to create a platform that will handle all types of RFID chips and allows individuals to create their own personalised security policies and enforce them using features already built into the tags such as cryptography and kill commands along with newer ones such as automatic key management.

When it's finished, RFID Guardian is intended to be a portable, battery-operated device incorporating an RFID reader that will tell users when new RFID tags appear (for example, when you buy a tagged item), when they're being read, and who owns them.

The prototype so far has focused on one subset of RFID, the 13.56 ISO 15693 tags that are typically used in credit card and smart card applications.

More detail is available from the group's paper here (PDF). ®

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