Theoretical Limits of ISO/IEC 14443 type A RFID Eavesdropping Attacks

Conference: Smart SysTech 2012 - European Conference on Smart Objects, Systems and Technologies
06/12/2012 - 06/13/2012 at Osnabrück, Deutschland

Proceedings: Smart SysTech 2012

Pages: 9Language: englishTyp: PDF

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Pfeiffer, Florian (perisens GmbH, Arcistr. 21, 80333 München, Germany)
Finkenzeller, Klaus (Giesecke & Devrient GmbH, Prinzregentenstraße 159, 81607 München, Germany)
Biebl, Erwin (Fachgebiet Höchstfrequenztechnik der Technischen Universität München, Arcistr. 21, 80333 München, Germany)

Inductively coupled ISO/IEC 14443 compliant RFID systems are used in many security-relevant applications. A key security feature is their very short range of about 10 cm. Eavesdropping attack scenarios are a well known and recognised threat for these systems. In this paper, we present a theoretical calculation of the maximum eavesdropping range of an inductive coupled reader-transponder communication with passive load modulation. Theoretical limits for eavesdropping distances are calculated for exemplary ISO/IEC 14443A transponder and reader configurations in different environments. According to our results the previously published range limits are stated as too high.