Hash Functions and RFID Tags: Mind the Gap

Andrey Bogdanov, Gregor Leander, Chris­tof Paar, Dipl.-Kfm. Axel Poschmann, Matthew Robshaw, Yannick Seurin

10. International Workshop on Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems - CHES 2008, Washington, USA. August 10 - 13, 2008.


The security challenges posed by RFID-tag deployments are wellknown. In response there is a rich literature on new cryptographic protocols and an on-tag hash function is often assumed by protocol designers. Yet cheap tags pose severe implementation challenges and it is far from clear that a suitable hash function even exists. In this paper we consider the options available, including constructions based around compact block ciphers. While we describe the most compact hash functions available today, our work serves to highlight the difficulties in designing lightweight hash functions and (echoing [17]) we urge caution when routinely appealing to a hash function in an RFID-tag protocol.

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tags: RFID