RFID PRIVACY and Security

RFID PRIVACY and Security

RFID PRIVACY and security

J.A. Mehtälä*

* OuluUniversity of Applied Sciences, School of Engineering, Oulu, Finland


The purpose of this document isto investigate how RFID security is done in practice and what user should know before taken it to use in critical tasks. This document also provides short view in encrypting in RFID techniques and how secure those are in real life. In today’s world we are living among with hundreds of different RFID devices which together creates huge network. These networks are called wireless sensor networks (WSN). Everyone can see devices looking like gate near shops door which are reading RFID tags which are attached to merchandises to protect shops against thieves. These RFID tags are also used as an electronic product code (EPC).

Keywords: RFID, tag, wirelesssensor, WSN, EPC.


Radio frequency identification (RFID) is method where device or tag is identified without physical touch. Distance between used devices can differ a lot. RFID tags are based to EPC (Electronic Product code). This product code is globally used numberingsystem which guarantees that every accepted code is unique. Standardization in this area is growing rapidly. In this work, privacy in RFID tags and EPC encoding system are more deeply studied to investigate how well security issues are defined to guarantee the usage in critical tasks or in daily use.


Technology consists of two different participants. Those are RFID and EPC. These technologies are competing against traditional BAR code, witch is widely used now.

RFID is commonly used term for devices that uses radio waves to communicate between transmitter and receiver. RFID tag consists of three parts, microchip, antenna and packing. Antenna is connected directly to microchip and provides needed power to chip and of course it is used in receiving and transmitting. EPC code is stored to chip. Packing is needed to protect antenna and chip against damages and violation. When tag is located near reader, antenna will provide power to chip and enables tags transmitter to transmit its own EPC code. Reader can directly communicate with computers and have huge amount of information from database.

EPC code is defined to be a 64, 96 or higher-bit code that identifies each individual device or thing. Encoding include a header field followed by one or more value fields. The header field tells what is the length and format in the value fields. These value fields are consists of unique EPC ID and required filter value. Without right filter value, code message is useless.

BAR codes biggest advantage is that it is really widely distributed around the world and it is well developed and already in daily use. Almost every item what is produced has BAR code in packet. BAR code reader is cheap to get and it works well.

Results and Discussion

The RFID is rapidly growing area in industry. By using currently available information, it is possible to make selections which are sustainable for a long time. There are also cases when it is better to use existing methods because new technology is not secure enough or costs are too high compared to advantages. New technology can’t be only essential thing when selecting systems for a long period.


The target in RFID usage is to help every day’s life and give enough security in system. This can achieve by using RFID tags and readers which fulfill applicable standards. Also these standards define how tags can be used safely way to prevent unnecessary alarms and failures.