Posts Tagged ‘cloning’

DN Systems has published a helpful overview of the considerable benefits that come with new ‘contactless’ technologies, and also some of the alleged associated risks for businesses keen to deploy this new technology. Firstly, it seems important to keep in mind that this is a relatively new sector, and therefore security policies are still in their infancy – so this is a shifting terrain.  Whilst companies may have given much thought to the design of their RFID enabled devices (for instance door-access control cards, RFID tags, and ID cards) – their supporting ‘back-end’ IT systems may still have possible inherent flaws.

A spokesperson for DN Systems said, “…RFID tags are always an integral part of a larger IT system and should be seen in this context. Given a compatible RFID reader device, anyone can freely read and modify data stored on these RFID tags without the legitimate owner even being aware of it. RFID auditing tools like RFDump can be used to explore the weaknesses of existing RFID infrastructures.”

Is on-tag encryption – a cause for concern?
Certain RFID tags carry something called ‘on-tag encryption’.  DN Systems argue that this approach is inherently vulnerable to unauthorised access and modification.  ‘On-tag’ encryption simply means that the code used to access the RFID devices’ data is stored on the device itself.  (In this respect, it would be a little like writing down the PIN code for a new credit card somewhere on the surface of the card – duh!)

Some suggest that with the right equipment it is possible to break the encryption on such devices.  Using a software package such as ‘RFDump’, DN Systems suggest the information contained within the RFID device can be manipulated.

The ‘Mifare Classic’ chip (used in public transport systems and building access control across the globe – even today?) appears vulnerable to this sort of probing.

DN Systems have this to say on the matter, “At the Chaos Computer Congress 2007 Karsten Nohl from the University of Virginia presented the results of his research. Nohl had analyzed the Mifare chip layer by layer under an electron microscope and reverse engineered significant parts of its proprietary encryption logic revealing major design flaws showing how easy it is to break the chip’s security features. With the dollar amount of the ticket directly stored on the tag, ticketing systems based on this chip, like the Oyster Card in London or the Charlie Card in Boston, are at risk. An attacker could attempt to either clone a ticket or change its value to gain illegal access to the service provided. Similar cloning and tampering scenarios apply to other open loop applications as well, including hotel key cards, ski lift and event tickets, electronic payment systems and the electronic passport.”

But that was then – this is now…
The ‘Mifare Classic’ chip emerged way back in 1994 and has since been superseded by more improved products with so-called “light-weight cryptography” solutions for the RFID element.

Today’s RFID chips contain approximately 15,000 secure ‘gates’. Although DN Systems is keen to stress that, “…only a fraction of these are available to implement crypto functionality, the rest is required to implement the tag’s state. Strong private key crypto systems on the other hand require at least 20,000 – 30,000 gates alone when implemented in hardware.”

What the above would appear to suggest (to this layperson at least) is that in order to deliver a 100% secure solution a designer would require more ‘gates’ than are currently available with commercially available RFID tags.  Therefore, whilst recent developments – i.e. since the ‘Mifare Classic’ –  have made our ‘contactless’ experience far more secure –  there is still further to go.

Some percieved RFID vulnerabilities
Ranked in no particular order of importance, what follows is an overview of common perceived RFID vulnerabilities:

  • RFID Cloning: Here the target RFID device (often a tag) is probed for vulnerabilities, and once compromised a duplicate is made.  This identical copy allows the perpetrator access to a secure area (i.e. cloned door-entry pass) or the prospect of introducing non-authorised products into an operations’ supply chain.  Another tactic would be to manipulate the value of goods, via cloned item tags, when shopping.  This phenomenon has been dubbed, “Cyber Shop-lifting”.
  • Malicious Code Injection: In this scenario, the aim of the perpetrator is to introduce a virus into the RFID device, which once read seeks to corrupt or crash an associated ‘back-office’ IT support system.  The main aim is to cause disruption or ‘hack’ into a secure area – such as a database.  What, you don’t believe the databases of major corporations can be ‘hacked’ – well, here’s an overview of some of the more staggering database ‘hacks’ over the last decade.
  • Man in the middle: Here the perpetrator seeks to trick users into presenting their RFID enabled device to a non-authorised reader.  The goal is to decrypt certain information during this electronic transaction that might provide useful keys for performing other attacks in due course.
  • Electronic eavesdropping / Skimming information:  This subject has already been explored at length elsewhere on this blog:
    https://contactless.wordpress.com/2011/06/11/eavesdropping-attacks-on-high-frequency-rfid-tokens/

The above vulnerabilities should not be read as proof that all RFID devices will be compromised in due course.  Nor should we fear a new crime wave at this point in time.  Rather, this article seeks to raise awareness that with any new technology come benefits and drawbacks – often in equal measures.

British-based company RFID Protect has positioned itself in this arena, as an operation that provides a range of security counter-measures for those seeking to combat some of the above issues.

To learn even more about this fascinating subject or to view the original article visit: http://www.dn-systems.de/technology/risks/

UK Government HQAbstract: A UK government-backed report that explores certain security flaws in RFID / contactless technology.  Well worth a read is this…

Source: http://www.ico.gov.uk

“It will be the responsibility of RFID users to prevent any unauthorised access to personal information. One concern is a practice that has become known as “skimming”. Since a transponder’s signal can be picked up by any compatible reader, it is possible for RFID tags to be read by unauthorised readers, which could access personal information stored on them. Users can guard against skimming by using passwords. The EPCglobal Class 1 Generation 2 RFID specification enables the use of a password for accessing a tag’s memory. However, these are not immune to “hacking”.

Most RFID systems require a short distance between tag and reader, making it difficult for “rogue” readers to scan tags but this could nevertheless be done in a situation where people are naturally at close range, for example, on a crowded train. The nominal read range of some tags can also be extended by the use of more powerful readers. It is also possible to read part of a tag’s number by eavesdropping merely on a reader’s communication with a tag. Readers, with a much higher power output than tags, can be read at much greater distances.

While some RFID applications might not need communication between tag and reader to be encrypted, others that process personal and especially sensitive personal data will need an adequate level of encryption to safeguard the data being processed. In most cases “skimmers” would also need a way of accessing the external database containing the personal data, but in some cases inferences might be made about someone from information which in itself does not relate directly to him. If a person leaves a store having purchased items carrying RFID tags that have not been disabled, he carries with him a potential inventory of his possessions. This would enable someone with a suitable reader and knowledge of EPC references to discover what items he was carrying at a given time. Sensitive personal data about a person’s illness, for example, might be unknowingly revealed by him via the EPC referring to the medication in his pocket. An insufficiently secure RFID chip could also be “cloned”. By copying personal data stored on the RFID chip of an identification card, a person could for practical purposes steal the identity of the cardholder. If the information on the database (e.g., a fingerprint) is checked only against the information on the card, rather than directly against the person himself, a criminal would not need to access the information stored on the database.”

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/detailed_specialist_guides/radio_frequency_indentification_tech_guidance.pdf

For more information visit:  RFID Protect

Finally, if you’re in any doubt as to whether or not RFID skimming is a real threat, then perhaps watch the following video evidence.

Video evidence from the United States of America, claiming that RFID enabled devices are vulnerable to skimming, cloning and hacking.

Electronic Pickpocket – YouTube Video
(Approx. 4minutes – n.b: opens in a new window.)

David Beckham - victim of RFID hacking and car jacking!

Going, going, gone – RFID car-jacking!

It’s the stuff of movies. A criminal gang that sets out to steal hundreds of cars, each in under 60 seconds, using the latest in high-tech gadgets to facilitate their heist.   But for David Beckham, Hollywood fiction became a reality when in April 2006 criminals used a simple laptop and RFID scanner to crack the electronic door locks of his BMW X5. Once the locks were cracked they then fired up the ignition and drove away – gone in just 15 minutes!

So how was this possible? After all the RFID industry has gone to considerable lengths to reassure us that ‘contactless’ chips and ‘smart keys’ are 100% secure, and not vulnerable to ‘skimming’.

John Holl, a journalist with Forbes Autos throws some light on the matter saying,

“…Back in 2004, when keyless technology was still new and touted as unbreakable and secure, Dr. Aviel D. Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins University, examined this possibility (with his students). Within three months they had successfully cracked the code embedded within the ignition keys of newer model cars, theoretically allowing them to steal the autos.”

“It was a trial-and-error process,”  Rubin said. “We wanted to see if it could be broken and found out that (surprisingly) it could!”

The technique requires a laptop, an RFID scanner and software capable of probing for encryption weaknesses. It only takes about 15 minutes for the software to explore millions of possible encryption answers, before finding the one that fits with the vehicle’s unique identity.  The thieves then submit an identical code to the vehicle, which allows them to ‘boost’ it.

15 minutes – it’s not long.  About the time it takes to park up, leave your vehicle and order at a restaurant, which seems to be what happened to the Beckhams.  And it just goes to show that no security system is 100% fool-proof, however peace of mind may soon arrive as British company RFID Protect hopes to manufacture RFID shielding sleeves that are specifically designed to protect a vehicle’s ‘smart key’ against unauthorised probing.

Original article at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13507939/ns/business-autos/

NEWSFLASH: Update September 2012

This month sees AutoExpress reporting on a new twist to this story.  It transpires that BMW has at last accepted that there is an issue with its keyless entry systems on cars issued between 2007 and September 2011.  BBC’s Watchdog television programme highlighted a problem with certain models (specifically BMW X5 & X6) in June of this year, and since then a number of high profile cases have come to light.  One story in particular demonstrates the problem that BMW is now facing, because when London-based consultant Eric Gallina had his car stolen from outside his home he couldn’t understand how thieves had taken it.  Mr Gallina still had the two factory-issued master car keys in his possession, and there had been no evidence of vehicle break in (i.e. there was no broken window glass at the crime scene).

AutoExpress reported that Mr Gallina was told by police officers,

“…nine other BMWs with keyless entry had been stolen in the Notting Hill area within the past month and a half.”

Apologists for BMW have issued security guidance to owners of these models, although it is not clear whether an actual ‘fix’ for the problem is available at the time of writing.  According to AutoExpress BMW have issued the following advice,

“…[until the fix is available to all models], where ever possible park your car out of sight, in a locked garage, or under the cover of CCTV cameras.”

Easier said than done, and some will wonder whether this guidance from BMW has really been thought through, or goes far enough to address such a serious security flaw?

Original article at: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/bmw/60264/bmw-owners-offered-fix-hi-tech-theft

http://www.skipassdefender.co.ukAs you travel to a resort which incorporates RFID in their lift passes, you may not know what information is stored on the RFID chip in your pass or how it is encrypted, nor what type of back office safety systems the resort has in place.

Already there are many instances of ski-passes (using contactless technology) being hacked, cloned and decrypted.  Aspen Ski Company integrated RFID technology into ski season passes in 2008-09.  Industry insiders have suggested that their RFID program will soon extend its reach so that ski passes can be used as credit / debit cards (i.e. store cards)  in any of its retail shops and restaurants.  The expanded use of RFID technologies, will no doubt assist Aspen Ski Company to profile its customers.

But what’s the option for those of us who want to ski the slopes, but not have our every movement – or transaction – tracked, hacked or profiled?

Companies like ID Stronghold in the States – the main supplier / wholesaler for SkiPass Defender – are well worth a visit.  Here in the UK, you might consider trying RFID Protect – particularly should you need a swift turnaround, excellent sales support and aftercare.

RFID Protect can supply 13.56MHz RFID enabled ID card / ski-pass holder designed to protect RFID enabled ID and door entry cards from being skimmed.  (To allow the card to be read you simply press the top of the holder to release the spring mechanism, which temporarily moves the card away from its protective shield.)