Algebraic attacks on RFID protocols

Ton van Deursen*, Saša Radomirović

*Corresponding author for this work

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 We demonstrate the types of attacks by exhibiting previously unpublished vulnerabilities in several protocols and referring to various other flawed protocols.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. Smart Devices, Pervasive Systems, and Ubiquitous Networks
Subtitle of host publicationWISTP 2009
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783642039447
ISBN (Print)9783642039430
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event3rd IFIP WG 11.2 International Workshop on Information Security Theory and Practice 2009 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 1 Sep 20094 Sep 2009

Publication series

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


Conference3rd IFIP WG 11.2 International Workshop on Information Security Theory and Practice 2009
Abbreviated titleWISTP 2009


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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