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Combatting RFID Security Risks

By Dr. Robert L. Gordon | 11/17/2015 | 6:46 AM | Categories: Current Affairs

Guest Post by Dr. Mario Vaccari, faculty member, Transportation and Logistics Management at American Public University


Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has become popular in global supply chain operations, but not without risk. Pairing long-range readers with scannable RFID tags presents an opportunity for unauthorized scanning by malicious readers and to various other attacks, including cloning attacks. In addition, many of the tags remain with products after they reach customers, presenting security threats to consumers.

Several security measures have been implemented to reduce the risk of attacks in global supply chains and to combat the issue of consumers’ increasing privacy concerns. Some of these security measures include XOR Operation, mutual authentication protocol, random hash-lock protocol, and RIPTA-DA RFID authentication protocol.

There are basically two types of RFID tags: active tags and passive tags.

  • An active tag is driven by a power source and broadcasts its own signal. The signal’s reach differs based on some variables.
  • A passive tag does not have a power source and is not capable of broadcasting its own signal.

Both types of tags provide benefits and challenges such as cost, size, range, security risks, and applications. In the case of passive tags (mostly found in consumer goods), the tags are inactive until activated with a reader/scanner. This condition is called residual RFID and this is where many privacy concerns begin.

Nowadays, privacy concerns are on everyone’s minds. The average consumer will quickly demand protection from perceived risks, yet few know how technology works to process data. This is the case with consumer knowledge of the privacy risks associated with RFID technology.

Organizations should offer consumers facts about some of the perceived security risks, as well as what is being done to diminish such risks. Organizations must take a proactive approach so consumers are educated on facts, not perceptions. The likelihood of a negative perception remaining constant in people's minds is a risk that should not be overlooked.

As RFID technology continues to evolve and its use increases in global supply chains, security risks will need to continue to be addressed. While measures are being taken by supply chain organizations and technology developers to reduce overall risks, organizational leaders must take a proactive approach to keep consumers abreast of what is being done to protect private information. Consumers have concerns and companies that use the technology have an obligation to provide accurate information to address those concerns.

Related article: http://www.dcvelocity.com/articles/20150910-has-rfid-found-a-home/















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About Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon

Dr. Robert Lee Gordon is program director of the Reverse Logistics department at American Public University. Dr. Gordon has over twenty-five years of professional experience in supply chain management and human resources. He holds a Doctorate of Management and Organizational Leadership and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, as well earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from UCLA. Dr. Gordon has spent more than 14 years teaching reverse logistics, transportation, project management, and human resources. He has published articles on reverse logistics; supply chain management; project management; human resources; education, and complexity. He has also published four books on Reverse Logistics Management; Complexity and Project Management; Virtual Project Management Organizations, and Successful Program Management..

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