What is RFID hacking, and how can it be prevented in 7 ways?
Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a method of close-quarters communication between RFID-enabled readers and RFID-enabled data chips, such as those found in credit cards or staff ID badges (like electronic access control for doors or credit card readers).
Since 1945, when a Soviet scientist created what was basically the first covert listening device in order to spy on the US during the escalating Cold War, this technology has existed in some form or another.
The contemporary type of RFID—a battery-free data tag that can pick up radio signals—was invented in 1996.
Since then, a variety of uses for this adaptable and reasonably priced technology have emerged, including:
- Monitoring Inventories
- Contactless Payment Cards
- Collecting Tolls
- Access Control
- Identifying Employees (ID)
But still like with every technology, there is always the potential for abuse as it becomes more widely used, and RFID is no different.
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How is RFID Hacking?
RFID data chips allow for remote scanning. Because of this, they are both extremely helpful and open to hacking.
Information Acquisition from a Far Distance
Although they are undoubtedly illegal, RFID scanners that collect and store ID information are simple to construct for individuals with the right abilities.
Hackers stealthily collect this ID information from any RFID cards that happen to pass by using a long-range reader.
For instance, a hacker might easily place this device in a messenger bag on a crowded morning bus or outside a targeted business, and the scanner would gather data as workers passed by wearing their badges.
Nothing digital is left behind as a result of this.
Making a Copy
Making a copy of the card or cards is the next step once the hacker has obtained the information. This is referred to as “spoofing” or “cloning.”
The duplicate card will grant the hacker the identical digital ID profile as the original, granting the hacker the same degree of access and authority.
You can see how things might easily go from a hacker only getting into the building’s front entrance to them unlocking a server room or computer with access controls and starting to cause any harm they like.
By standing close by and producing a signal that is stronger than the one being sent out by the RFID reader, hackers have successfully jammed RFID cards and tags in order to prevent them from operating.
This can block entry using ID cards, which can cause widespread chaos, and make it hard to track inventories using RFID.
An antenna can be used by hackers to capture conversations between actual RFID tags and RFID readers. RFID tag use information is gathered during this “eavesdropping” so the hacker may subsequently plan and carry out more significant attacks.
How To Prevent RFID Hacking
RFID hacking cannot be stopped by a single panacea. To counter RFID hacking, there are a number of methods that may be coupled for increased security and data protection.
Use Passive RFID
The signal from “passive” RFID tags is significantly weaker than that from “active” tags.
This implies that passive RFID tags must be placed considerably closer to readers in order for them to function, but it also means that long-range hacker scanners are unable to read information from passive RFID tags.
Use RFID Protection Outside the Building
Keeping RFID cards and RFID-enabled equipment in specialized pouches or bags that block RFID signals is one low-cost, low-tech technique to reduce card cloning. This technique works best when the card is outside the building and is not used frequently since it prevents the cards from being scanned by a hacker but also from being scanned by genuine readers.
Use The Market’s Most Secure Cards.
Choose proximity cards, such as those from the HID Seos product range, that contain additional security measures that prevent hacking and tampering. These cards and their readers use cryptographic methods that provide an additional layer of security to the data they hold, thereby giving them two-factor identification that makes them considerably more challenging to get into with a long-range scanner.
Data Linkage to Avoid Card Duplication
Use access control technology to your advantage by establishing duplicates-disallowing policies in your access control to stop cloned cards from entering the building. RFID cards cannot be “checked in” again without first being “checked out,” even if they are already “checked in” and present in the database.
This is the phrase for a security exercise in which a knowledgeable “white hat” or good guy hacker purposefully examines your system to discover its flaws and potential vulnerabilities.
Pen testing is very helpful because it assesses the level of security in place using techniques that a “black hat” or bad guy hacker would employ in a manner that is unique to your systems’ architecture, access points, and technology. After receiving this feedback, your security team may develop methods and solutions to address any discovered vulnerabilities.
Utilize a wired network and get permission before using sensitive equipment or information.
RFID-enabled wireless devices are practical, but they are inherently less secure than cable connections, which are far more difficult for hackers to access and compromise. Make wired connectivity a requirement for the network’s most sensitive components, such as server rooms that house confidential or proprietary data or operating consoles for critical machinery.
Reliable Physical Security
Don’t rely on RFID cards to safeguard your staff, property, or machinery. To achieve full security in a business context, it is necessary to have a robust physical security system in addition to prox cards and RFID tags. With the addition of PIN pads, biometric readers, video monitoring, and other barriers, prox card access control may be strengthened. Together, these security measures transform your company from a soft target with many readily exploitable flaws into a hard target with a few flaws that are adequately protected by auxiliary safety measures.