The Internet of Things (IoT) is a distributed system of physical objects that requires the seamless integration of hardware (e.g., sensors, actuators, electronics) and network communications in order to collect and exchange data. IoT smart objects need to be somehow identified to determine the origin of the data and to automatically detect the elements around us. One of the best positioned technologies to perform identification is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), which in the last years has gained a lot of popularity in applications like access control, payment cards or logistics. Despite its popularity, RFID security has not been properly handled in numerous applications. To foster security in such applications, this article includes three main contributions. First, in order to establish the basics, a detailed review of the most common flaws found in RFID-based IoT systems is provided, including the latest attacks described in the literature. Second, a novel methodology that eases the detection and mitigation of such flaws is presented. Third, the latest RFID security tools are analyzed and the methodology proposed is applied through one of them (Proxmark 3) to validate it. Thus, the methodology is tested in different scenarios where tags are commonly used for identification. In such systems it was possible to clone transponders, extract information, and even emulate both tags and readers. Therefore, it is shown that the methodology proposed is useful for auditing security and reverse engineering RFID communications in IoT applications. It must be noted that, although this paper is aimed at fostering RFID communications security in IoT applications, the methodology can be applied to any RFID communications protocol.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited