Algebraic Attacks on RFID Protocols

Ton van Deursen, Saša Radomirović

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

31 Citations (Scopus)


This work aims to identify the algebraic problems which enable many attacks on RFID protocols. Toward this goal, three emerging types of attacks on RFID protocols, concerning authentication, untraceability, and secrecy are discussed. We demonstrate the types of attacks by exhibiting previously unpublished vulnerabilities in several protocols and referring to various other flawed protocols. The common theme in these attacks is the fact that the algebraic properties of operators employed by the protocols are abused. While the methodology is applicable to any operator with algebraic properties, the protocols considered in this paper make use of xor, modular addition, and elliptic curve point addition.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Security Theory and Practice
Subtitle of host publicationSmart Devices, Pervasive Systems, and Ubiquitous Networks - Third IFIPWG 11.2 International Workshop, WISTP2009 Brussels, Belgium, September 1-4, 2009. Proceedings
EditorsOlivier Markowitch, Angelos Bilas, Jaap-Henk Hoepman , Chris J. Mitchell, Jean-Jacques Quisquater
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9783642039430
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event3rd Workshop in Information Security Theory and Practices: "Smart Devices, Pervasive Systems, Ubiquitous Networks" - NH Hotel du Grand Sablon, Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 1 Sept 20094 Sept 2009 (Link to Workshop website)

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Workshop3rd Workshop in Information Security Theory and Practices
Abbreviated titleWISTP 2009
Internet address


  • Algebraic methods
  • Attacks
  • Formal verification
  • RFID
  • Security protocols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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