Wireless security threats: Eavesdropping and detecting of active RFIDs and remote controls in the wild

Timo Kasper, David Oswald, Chris­tof Paar

19th International Conference on Software, Telecommunications and Computer Networks (SoftCOM)


This paper deals with security threats concerning RFID and other wireless devices. We focus on eavesdropping and introduce a portable setup for monitoring the communication of active RFIDs in practice. We then investigate an active RFID tag operating at 433 MHz in order to determine how much its specified coverage can be extended in the context of attacks. Assuming an adversary with limited know-how and funds, we conduct all analyses solely with commercially available low-cost and easy-to-use equipment. By performing practical experiments we demonstrate that the ranges can be increased up to a factor of eight and thereby prove that this type of RFID is vulnerable to certain attacks from a distance. Our results can be applied to other wireless devices, e.g, remote controls for remote keyless entry systems.

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