GB2444098A - Security of information on an RFID card - Google Patents

Security of information on an RFID card Download PDF

Info

Publication number
GB2444098A
GB2444098A GB0623423A GB0623423A GB2444098A GB 2444098 A GB2444098 A GB 2444098A GB 0623423 A GB0623423 A GB 0623423A GB 0623423 A GB0623423 A GB 0623423A GB 2444098 A GB2444098 A GB 2444098A
Authority
GB
United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
apparatus
switch
rfid
circuitry
antenna element
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Withdrawn
Application number
GB0623423A
Other versions
GB0623423D0 (en
Inventor
Marko Kalervo Karhiniemi
Turo Hermanni Keski-Jaskari
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Nokia Oyj
Original Assignee
Nokia Oyj
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Nokia Oyj filed Critical Nokia Oyj
Priority to GB0623423A priority Critical patent/GB2444098A/en
Publication of GB0623423D0 publication Critical patent/GB0623423D0/en
Publication of GB2444098A publication Critical patent/GB2444098A/en
Application status is Withdrawn legal-status Critical

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K19/00Record carriers for use with machines and with at least a part designed to carry digital markings
    • G06K19/06Record carriers for use with machines and with at least a part designed to carry digital markings characterised by the kind of the digital marking, e.g. shape, nature, code
    • G06K19/067Record carriers with conductive marks, printed circuits or semiconductor circuit elements, e.g. credit or identity cards also with resonating or responding marks without active components
    • G06K19/07Record carriers with conductive marks, printed circuits or semiconductor circuit elements, e.g. credit or identity cards also with resonating or responding marks without active components with integrated circuit chips
    • G06K19/073Special arrangements for circuits, e.g. for protecting identification code in memory
    • G06K19/07309Means for preventing undesired reading or writing from or onto record carriers
    • G06K19/07345Means for preventing undesired reading or writing from or onto record carriers by activating or deactivating at least a part of the circuit on the record carrier, e.g. ON/OFF switches
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06KRECOGNITION OF DATA; PRESENTATION OF DATA; RECORD CARRIERS; HANDLING RECORD CARRIERS
    • G06K19/00Record carriers for use with machines and with at least a part designed to carry digital markings
    • G06K19/06Record carriers for use with machines and with at least a part designed to carry digital markings characterised by the kind of the digital marking, e.g. shape, nature, code
    • G06K19/067Record carriers with conductive marks, printed circuits or semiconductor circuit elements, e.g. credit or identity cards also with resonating or responding marks without active components
    • G06K19/07Record carriers with conductive marks, printed circuits or semiconductor circuit elements, e.g. credit or identity cards also with resonating or responding marks without active components with integrated circuit chips
    • G06K19/077Constructional details, e.g. mounting of circuits in the carrier
    • G06K19/07749Constructional details, e.g. mounting of circuits in the carrier the record carrier being capable of non-contact communication, e.g. constructional details of the antenna of a non-contact smart card
    • GPHYSICS
    • G08SIGNALLING
    • G08BSIGNALLING OR CALLING SYSTEMS; ORDER TELEGRAPHS; ALARM SYSTEMS
    • G08B13/00Burglar, theft or intruder alarms
    • G08B13/02Mechanical actuation
    • G08B13/14Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles
    • G08B13/1472Mechanical actuation by lifting or attempted removal of hand-portable articles with force or weight detection

Abstract

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) cards are inherently insecure as they can be read by anyone with an appropriate reader. Therefore, a normally open switch 108 is provided between the RFID circuitry 102 and the antenna element 104. This allows activation of the card only when the user desires it, improving the security of the information contained on the card. Various switch designs are described including both a manually operated switch and an electrically operated switch. Mentioned applications included implementation in a passport or credit card.

Description

RADIO-FREQUENCY IDENTIFICATION APPARATUS

The invention relates to radio-frequency identification (RFID) apparatus.

Background

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems enable data to be transmitted by a mobile transponder called an RFID tag. The data is read by an RFJD reader and processed according to a particular application. The data transmitted by the tag may provide identification information or biometric data related to a person, as is the case with some passports, for example. When an RFID tag passes through an electromagnetic field surrounding the reader, the tag detects an activation signal transmitted by the reader. The signal activates the RFID tag so that the reader can read and/or write data to the tag. The reader decodes the data encoded in the tag's circuitry.

The security of such RFJD presents a problem, particularly when the RFID tag stores sensitive dat such as biometric data relating to a passport holder.

Attempts to solve this problem have included using a metallic cover to shield the RFID tag when not in use, encrypting the data, and the use of dual communication channels (wherein a reader device obtains a keycode from a tag by optical means and uses the keycode to decrypt the contents of an RFID chip in the tag).

The listing or discussion of a prior-published document in this specification should not necessarily be taken as an acknowledgement that the document is part of the state of the art or is common general knowledge.

Summary

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided radio-frqiiency identification (RFID) apparatus comprising an antenna element. RFID circuitry and security circuitry, the RFID circuitry being arranged to manage signalling for transmission and/or receipt via the antenna element, the security circuitry being arranged to control the interaction between the RFID circuitry and the antenna element; wherein the apparatus is arranged to have an enabled mode in which the antenna element is enabled for use by the RFID circuitry to transmit and/or receive signalling, and a disabled mode in which the antenna element is disabled for use by the RFID circuitry lo transmit and/or receive signalling, and wherein the security circuitry is arranged to switch the apparatus between the enabled and disabled modes in response to an input.

In this way, the data stored in the RFID circuitry is completely secure. By electrically disabling the antenna element and thereby disabling unintended RFID circuitry response. there is no way for eavesdropping, sniffmg or third-party compromised information change to occur when the apparatus is not in use.

The disabled mode may be a default mode, the apparatus being arranged to enter the enabled mode in response to the input and to return to the disabled mode iii the absence of the input.

The security circuitry may be arranged to disable the antenna element by electrically isolating the antenna element from a signalling line of the RFID circuitry and to enable the antenna element by electrically coupling the antenna element to the signalling line of the RFID circuitry.

The security circuitry may be arranged to disable the antenna element by electrically coupling the antenna element to ground and to enable the antenna element by electrically isolating the antenna element from ground, the antenna element being electrically coupled to a signalling line of the RFID circuitry.

The security circuitry may be arranged to bias the apparatus towards the disabled mode. n

The security circuitry may comprise a manually-operated switch arranged to receive manual input from a user. Additionally or alternatively, the security circuitry may comprise an electrically-operated switch, for example an electromagnetic switch or low-impedance FET switch. An electromagnetic arrangement may be used to keep the switch open, keep it closed, and/or change the state of the switch between open and closed.

The security circuitry may comprise a switch, the switch being open in the disabled mode. The switch may be biased open and may be closed by actuating the switch against the bias.

The security circuitry may comprise a switch, the switch being closed in the disabled mode. The switch may be biased closed and may be opened by actuating the switch against the bias.

The security circuitry may be arranged to control the switch in response to an input signal received from an electronics device associateçl with the apparatus.

Examples of an electronics device associated with the apparatus include electronics devices which are remote from the apparatus or integrated with the apparatus, and electronics devices which are connected to the apparatus by a wired or wireless connection.

According to a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of controlling the apparatus of the first aspect, the method comprising providing the input to the security circuitry.

According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a computer program including one or more code portions for performing the method of the second aspect.

According to a fourth aspect of the invention, there is provided a carrier including the computer program of the third aspect.

According to a fifth aspect of the invention, there is provided radio-frequency identification (RFID) apparatus comprising antenna means, RFID means and means for securing the apparatus, the RFID means being arranged to manage signalling for transmission and/or receipt via the antenna means, the means for securing being arranged to control the interaction between the RFID means and the antenna means; wherein the apparatus is arranged to have an enabled mode in which the antenna means is enabled for use by the RFID means to transmit and/or receive signalling, and a disabled mode in which the antenna means is disabled for use by the RFID means to transmit and/or receive signalling, and wherein the means for securing is arranged to switch the apparatus between the enabled and disabled modes in response to an input.

Any circuitry may include one or more processors, memories and bus lines. One or more of the circuitries described may share circuitry elements.

The present invention includes one or more aspects, embodiments or features in isolation or in various combinations whether or not specifically stated (including claimed) in that combination or in isolation.

Brief Description of the Drawings

A description is now given, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:-Figure 1 shows a first radio-frequency identification apparatus; Figure 2 shows a second radio-frequency identification apparatus; Figure 3 shows a third radio-frequency identification apparatus.

Detailed Description

Figure 1 shows radio-frequency identification (RFID) apparatus 100 including RFID circuitry 102. an antenna element 104 and security circuitry 106.

The RFID cIrcuitry 1 02 stores data for reading and/or writing by a RFID reader (not shown) and manages signalling for transmission and/or receipt via the antenna element 104. The RFID circuitry 102 includes a signalling line 116 whereby it connects to the antenna element 1 04 for transmission andlor receipt of signalling.

The security circuitry 106 is arranged to control the interaction between the RFID circuitry 102 and antenna element 104 and includes a normally-open manually-operated switch 108 located in the signalling line 116.

Since the switch 108 is normally open, no signalling can be sent between the antenna element 104 and the RFID circuitry 102, such that the antenna element 104 is not enabled for use by the REID circuitry 102 to transmit and/or receive signallmg. This is the default mode of the apparatus 100.

A power line 114 completes the circuit by transmitting power induced in the antenna element 104 to the RFID circuitry 102.

In use, a user actuates the switch 108 causing the antenna element 104 to be electrically coupled to the signalling line 116 of the REID circuitry 102, thereby enabling the antenna element 104 for use by the REID circuitry 102 to transmit and/or receive signalling. Releasing the switch 108 breaks the electrical coupling between the signalling line 116 of the REID circuitry 102 and antenna element 104, returning the apparatus 100 to its disabled mode.

The apparatus 100 may be incorporated into a passport or a credit card. The switch 108 may be a microswitch arranged such that pressing the passport or credit card in a certain spot electrically couples the antenna element 104 to the signalling line

I

116 of the RFID circuitry 102. The switch 108 may be connected to a mechanical slide or bendable material, which provides an electrical connection when bent and isolation when not bent. or vice versa. In a variant, the user's finger pressure provides the electrical connection between the antenna element 104 and the signalling line 116 of the RFID circuitry 102.

Figure 2 shows a radio-frequency identification apparatus 200 including RFID circuitry 102 and an antenna element 104 identical to those of apparatus 100. The apparatus 200 includes security circuitry 206 including a normally-open electrically-operated switch 208 (which may be an n-type field effect transistor) located in the signalling line 116 and a security module 210 in communication with the switch 208. The apparatus 200 further includes an input connection 212 in communication with the security module 210. A power line 114 completes the circuit by transmitting power induced in the antenna element 104 to the RFID is circuitry 102.

The apparatus 200 normally operates in a disabled mode in which the switch 208 is open, such that the antenna element 104 is electrically isolated from the signalling line 116 of the RFID circuitry 1 02 and is not enabled for use by the RFID circuitry 102 to transmit and/or receive signalling. In response to an input signal received via the input connection 212, the security module 210 operates to close the switch 208 such that the antenna element 104 is electrically coupled to the signalling line 116 of the RFID circuitry 102 and is enabled for use by the RFID circuitry 102 to transmit and/or receive signalling. The control module 210 operates such that, when the input signal is no longer present at the input connection 212, the security module 210 opens the switch 208 to return the apparatus to its disabled mode. In a variant, the security module 21 0 operates to open and close the switch 208 in response to pulse signals received at the input connection 212. i

The input connection 212 may receive the input signal from an electronics module associated with the apparatus 200. The electronics module may form part of a mobile telephone, for example.

Figure 3 shows a radio-frequency identification apparatus 300 including RFID circuitry 102 and an antenna element 104 identical to those of apparatus 100, and an input connection 212 identical to that of apparatus 200. The antenna element 104 is electrically coupled to the signalling line 116 of the RFID circuitry 102.

The apparatus 300 further includes security circuitry 306 including a normally-io closed electrically-operated switch 308 (which may be a p-type field effect transistor) and a security module 310 in communication with the switch 308 and with the input connection 212. A power line 114 completes the circuit by transmitting power induced in the antenna element 104 to the RFID circuitry 102.

The apparatus 300 normally operates in a disabled mode in which the switch 308 is closed, such that the antenna element 104 is electrically coupled to ground and so is not enabled for use by the RFID circuitry 102 to transmit and/or receive signalling. In response to an input signal received via the input connection 212, the security module 310 operates to open the switch 308 such that the antenna element 104 is electrically isolated from ground and so is enabled for use by the RFID circuitry 102 to transmit and/or receive signalling. The security module 310 operates such that, when the input signal is no longer present at the input connection 212, the security module 310 closes the switch 308 to return the apparatus to its disabled mode. In a variant, the security module 310 operates to open and close the switch 308 in response to pulse signals received at the input connection 212.

It will be appreciated that the aforementioned circuitry may have other functions in addition to the mentioned functions, and that these functions may be performed by the same circuit.

I

The applicant hereby discloses in isolation each individual feature described herein and any combination of two or more such features, to the extent that such features or combinations are capable of being carried out based on the present specification as a whole in the light of the common general knowledge of a person skilled in the art, irrespective of whether such features or combinations of features solve any problems disclosed herein, and without limitation to the scope of the claims. The applicant indicates that aspects of the present invention may consist of any such individual feature or combination of features. In view of the foregoing description it will be evident to a person skilled in the art that various modifications may be made within the scope of the invention.

While there have been shown and described and pointed out fundamental novel features of the invention as applied to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the devices and methods described may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, it is expressly intended that all combinations of those elements and/or method steps which perform substantially the same function in substantially the same way to achieve the same results are within the scope of the invention. Moreover, it should be recognized that structures and/or elements and/or method steps shown and/or described in connection with any disclosed form or embodiment of the invention may be incorporated in any other disclosed or described or suggested form or embodiment as a general matter of design choice. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the claims appended hereto.

Furthermore, in the claims means-plus-function clauses are intended to cover the structures described herein as performing the recited function and not only structural equivalents, but also equivalent structures. Thus although a nail and a screw may not be structural equivalents in that a nail employs a cylindrical surface to secure wooden parts together, whereas a screw employs a helical surface, in the environment of fastening wooden parts, a nail and a screw may be equivalent structures.

Claims (16)

  1. I. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) apparatus comprising an antenna element. RFID circuitry and security circuitry, the RFID circuitry being arranged to manage signalling for transmission and/or receipt via the anterma element. the security circuitry being arranged to control the interaction between the RFID circuitry and the antenna element; wherein the apparatus is arranged to have an enabled mode in which the antenna element is enabled for use by the RFID circuitry to transmit andlor io receive signalling, and a disabled mode in which the antenna element is disabled for use by the RFID circuitry to transmit and/or receive signalling, and wherein the security circuitry is arranged to switch the apparatus between the enabled and disabled modes in response to an input.
    is
  2. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the disabled mode is a default mode, the apparatus being arranged to enter the enabled mode in response to the input and to return to the disabled mode in the absence of the input.
  3. 3. The apparatus of claim I or 2 wherein the security circuitry is arranged to disable the anterma element by electrically isolating the antenna element from a signalling line of the RFID circuitry and to enable the antenna element by electrically coupling the antenna element to the signalling line of the RFID circuitry.
  4. 4. The apparatus of claim 1 or 2 wherein the security circuitry is arranged to disable the antenna element by electrically coupling the antenna element to ground and to enable the antenna element by electrically isolating the antenna element from ground, the antenna element being electrically coupled to a signalling line of the RFID circuitry.
  5. 5. The apparatus of any preceding claim wherein the security circuitry is arranged to bias the apparatus towards the disabled mode.
    I
  6. 6. The apparatus of any preceding claim wherein the security circuitry comprises a manually-operated switch arranged to receive manual input from a user.
  7. 7. The apparatus of any preceding claim wherein the security circuitry comprises an electrically-operated switch.
  8. 8. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the security circuitry comprises a switch, the switch being open in the disabled mode.
  9. 9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the switch is biased open and is closed by actuating the switch against the bias.
  10. 1 0. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the security circuitry comprises a switch, the switch being closed in the disabled mode.
  11. 1]. The apparatus of claim 10 wherein the switch is biased closed and is opened by actuating the switch against the bias.
  12. 12. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the security circuitry is arranged to control the switch in response to an input signal received from an electronics device associated with the apparatus.
  13. 13. A method of controlling the apparatus of any preceding claim, the method comprising providing the input to the security circuitry.
  14. 14. A computer program including one or more code portions for performing the method of claim 13.
  15. 15. A carrier including the computer program of claim 14.
  16. 16. Radio-frequency identification (R.FID) apparatus comprising antenna means, RFID means and means for securmg the apparatus, the RFID means being arranged to manage signalling for transmission and/or receipt via the antenna means, the means for controlling being arranged to control the interaction between the RFID means and the antenna means; wherein the apparatus is arranged to have an enabled mode in which the antenna means is enabled for use by the RFID means to transmit and/or receive signalling, and a disabled mode in which the antenna means is disabled for use by the RFJD means to transmit and/or receive signalling, and wherein the means for securing is arranged to switch the apparatus between the enabled and disabled modes in response to an input.
GB0623423A 2006-11-24 2006-11-24 Security of information on an RFID card Withdrawn GB2444098A (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0623423A GB2444098A (en) 2006-11-24 2006-11-24 Security of information on an RFID card

Applications Claiming Priority (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB0623423A GB2444098A (en) 2006-11-24 2006-11-24 Security of information on an RFID card

Publications (2)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB0623423D0 GB0623423D0 (en) 2007-01-03
GB2444098A true GB2444098A (en) 2008-05-28

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Family Applications (1)

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GB0623423A Withdrawn GB2444098A (en) 2006-11-24 2006-11-24 Security of information on an RFID card

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GB (1) GB2444098A (en)

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE102012219504A1 (en) 2011-11-08 2013-05-08 International Business Machines Corporation Passive mobile article with passcode touch sensor array

Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6496112B1 (en) * 1998-02-27 2002-12-17 Motorola, Inc. Radio frequency identification tag with a programmable circuit state
US20030116634A1 (en) * 2001-11-29 2003-06-26 Masahiko Tanaka Non-contact IC card
US20040012496A1 (en) * 2002-07-17 2004-01-22 Ncr Corporation Radio frequency identification (RFID) tag and a method of operating an RFID tag
WO2004079644A1 (en) * 2003-03-04 2004-09-16 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Wireless transmission tag
WO2005008578A2 (en) * 2003-07-07 2005-01-27 Avery Dennison Corporation Rfid device with changeable characteristics
WO2005062245A1 (en) * 2003-12-19 2005-07-07 Axalto Sa Contactless card including an antenna switch
WO2005111925A1 (en) * 2004-04-30 2005-11-24 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Activating a data tag by load or orientation or user control
US20060187040A1 (en) * 2005-02-04 2006-08-24 Philip Morris Usa Inc. Controllable RFID card

Patent Citations (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6496112B1 (en) * 1998-02-27 2002-12-17 Motorola, Inc. Radio frequency identification tag with a programmable circuit state
US20030116634A1 (en) * 2001-11-29 2003-06-26 Masahiko Tanaka Non-contact IC card
US20040012496A1 (en) * 2002-07-17 2004-01-22 Ncr Corporation Radio frequency identification (RFID) tag and a method of operating an RFID tag
WO2004079644A1 (en) * 2003-03-04 2004-09-16 Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Wireless transmission tag
WO2005008578A2 (en) * 2003-07-07 2005-01-27 Avery Dennison Corporation Rfid device with changeable characteristics
WO2005062245A1 (en) * 2003-12-19 2005-07-07 Axalto Sa Contactless card including an antenna switch
WO2005111925A1 (en) * 2004-04-30 2005-11-24 Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. Activating a data tag by load or orientation or user control
US20060187040A1 (en) * 2005-02-04 2006-08-24 Philip Morris Usa Inc. Controllable RFID card

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
DE102012219504A1 (en) 2011-11-08 2013-05-08 International Business Machines Corporation Passive mobile article with passcode touch sensor array

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Publication number Publication date
GB0623423D0 (en) 2007-01-03

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WAP Application withdrawn, taken to be withdrawn or refused ** after publication under section 16(1)