Why is RFID a Vulnerable Technology?

Can Contact-less or RFID technology make your data vulnerable?

060823_Infineon_RFIDThere is no doubt about it RFID technology is here to stay and some of the applications for this technology is streamlining industry process.

An example of this is inventory tracking and supply chain solutions. Whereby the product is tracked via RFID readers throughout the entire process of the supply chain, another is the inventory tracking that you already see in a lot of stores from Walmart to libraries. These inventory tracking uses vary from stock control to being able to attribute an actual sale of a individual product to a RFID tag. Many multinational companies are trailing and embracing the technology.

Consumer marketing applications will decimate privacy*

RFID would expand marketers’ ability to monitor individuals’ behaviour to undreamt of extremes. With corporate sponsors like Wal-Mart, Target, the Food Marketing Institute, Home Depot, and British supermarket chain Tesco, as well as some of the world’s largest consumer goods manufacturers including Procter and Gamble, Phillip Morris, and Coca Cola [29] it may not be long before RFID-based surveillance tags begin appearing in every store-bought item in a consumer’s home.

Excerpt from SPYCHIPS website*

RFID technology is being widely tested for many options including tracking

According to Spychips,*

Many huge corporations, including Philip Morris, Procter and Gamble, and Wal-Mart, have begun experimenting with RFID spy chip technology. Gillette is leading the pack, and recently placed an order for up to 500 million RFID tags from a company called “Alien Technology” (we kid you not). These big companies envision a day when every single product on the face of the planet is tracked with RFID spy chips!

On the other hand this technology also opens up a world of issues surrounding privacy and the security of your data held in devices that use this technology (Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Drivers Licences, Citizen Cards and ePassports to name just a few)


Many large retailers are already tracking your movements through out their department store or retail spaces in Airports apparently so they can see heat maps of traffic areas etc.

Some other reasons why RFID technology is so vulnerable:

1. Data is transferred over the airwaves.

While many institutions (banks & Governments) who are rolling out this ‘contact-less technology’ claim that their RFID tags are encrypted and secure, we also hear many claims from the hacking community that these encryptions can & will be hacked. If you search in Google for RFID hacking there is literally hundreds of posts.

sunlogo-300x101Here is an article by the UK  SUN newspaper titled Robbed by Radiowave Article which is worth a read.

2. Any RFID reader can be used to read a RFID tag.

Hackers & skimmers can obtain the very same technology (often on eBay for as little as $100 AUD) then either download or code up an application on a smart phone or laptop to process the data that has been transmitted.

3. RFID tags can be read without your knowledge.

Since the tags can be read without being swiped or obviously scanned (as is the case with magnetic strips or barcodes), anyone with an RFID tag reader can read the tags embedded in your clothes and other consumer products without your knowledge.

For example, you could be scanned before you enter the store, just to see what you are carrying. You might then be approached by a clerk who knows what you have in your backpack or purse, and can suggest accessories or other items.

4. RFID tags can be read a greater distances with a high-gain antenna.

For various reasons, RFID reader/tag systems are designed so that distance between the tag and the reader is kept to a minimum. However, a high-gain antenna can be used to read the tags from much further away, leading to privacy problems.

Why risk your data being compromised?

At ARMOURCARD this vulnerability did not sit well with us especially since the global roll-out  of RFID technology was moving at such a rapid pace regardless of possible weaknesses in the security of the technology.

That is why we developed ARMOURCARD which offers patented ‘Active RFID Protection’.