RSA Laboratories

Vulnerabilities in first-generation RFID-enabled credit cards

Citation: T. S. Heydt-Benjamin, D. V. Bailey, K. Fu, A. Juels, and T. O'Hare. Vulnerabilities in first-generation RFID-enabled credit cards. Financial Cryptography 2007.

Abstract: RFID-enabled credit cards are widely deployed in the United States and other countries, but no public study has thoroughly analyzed the mechanisms that provide both security and privacy. Using samples from a variety of RFID-enabled credit cards, our study observes that (1) the cardholder’s name and often credit card number and expiration are leaked in plaintext to unauthenticated readers, (2) our homemade device costing around $150 effectively clones one type of skimmed cards— providing a proof-of-concept of the RF replay attack for cards, (3) information revealed by the RFID transmission cross contaminates the security of non-RFID payment media, and (4) RFID-enabled credit cards are susceptible in various degrees to a range of other traditional RFID attacks such as skimming and relaying.

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