Usability of display-equipped RFID tags for security purposes


Event Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Research in Computer Security (ESORICS '11)


Ersin Uzun
Technical Publications
September 12th 2011
Recent emergence of RFID tags capable of performing public key operations enables a number of new applications in commerce (e.g., RFID-enabled credit cards) and security (e.g., ePassports and access-control badges). While the use of public key cryptography in RFID tags mitigates many difficult security issues, certain important usability-related issues remain, particularly when RFID tags are used for financial transactions or bearer identification. In this paper, we focus exclusively on techniques with user involvement for secure user-to-tag authentication, transaction verification, reader expiration and revocation checking, as well as pairing of RFID tags with other personal devices. Our approach is based on two factors: (1) recent advances in hardware and manufacturing have made it possible to mass-produce inexpensive passive display-equipped RFID tags, and (2) high-end RFID tags used in financial transactions or identification are attended by a human user (typically, their owner). Our techniques rely on user involvement coupled with on-tag displays to achieve better security and privacy. Since user acceptance is a crucial factor in this context, we conducted comprehensive user studies to assess usability of all considered methods. This paper reports on our findings.


Kobsa, A.; Nithyanand, R.; Tsudik, G.; Uzun, E. Usability of display-equipped RFID tags for security purposes. Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Research in Computer Cecurity (ESORICS'11); 2011 September 12-15; Leuven, Belgium. Berlin: Springer; 2011; LNCS 6879: 434-451.

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