New Methods for Cost-Effective Side-Channel Attacks on Cryptographic RFIDs

Timo Kasper, David Oswald, Chris­tof Paar

Workshop on RFID Security 2009, RFIDSec 2009, Leuven, Belgium, 30. Juni - 2.Juli, 2009.


We introduce low-cost hardware for performing non-invasive side-channel attacks on Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) and develop techniques for facilitating a correlation power analysis (CPA) in the presence of the field of an RFID reader. We practically verify the effectiveness of the developed methods by analysing the security of commercial contactless smartcards employing strong cryptography, pinpointing weaknesses in the protocol, and revealing a vulnerability towards side-channel attacks. Employing the developed hardware, we present the first successful key-recovery attack on commercially available contactless smartcards based on the Data Encryption Standard (DES) or Triple- DES (3DES) cipher that are widely used for security-sensitive applications, e.g., payment purposes.

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tags: RFID