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SkyeTek Adds Encryption to Embedded RFID

SkyeTek, the Westminster, Colorado-based provider of embedded RFID readers, this week announced security enhancements to its product line that the company says represent a key development in the widening adoption of item-level RFID tagging.
Jul 13, 2006This article was originally published by RFID Update.

July 13, 2006—SkyeTek, the Westminster, Colorado-based provider of embedded RFID readers, this week announced security enhancements to its product line that the company says represent a key development in the widening adoption of item-level RFID tagging.

For two of the company's reader modules -- the SkyeModule M2 HF reader and the SkyeModule M9 UHF reader -- SkyeTek has added two security features: Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) hashing. The encryption allows tag data to be scrambled so that unauthorized parties cannot read it, and the hashing protects against tag tampering and counterfeiting. Both the AES and SHA cryptography techniques are considered industry standards in fields such as finance, government, and electronic commerce.

SkyeTek vice president of marketing and strategy Martin Payne told RFID Update that the company's decision to add security enhancements to its products was based on the sooner-than-expected uptake of item-level tagging, which will require more stringent security measures than case- and pallet-level tagging. "Security and encryption have been a secondary or tertiary concern" in the mainstream supply chain and retail deployments to date. But as tagging reaches all the way to the store shelf on individual products, RFID will become more of a target for hacking, and the transmission of unencrypted tag data to any reader within range will become unacceptable. As item-level tagging expands and RFID technology matures as a whole, "the industry is going to transition more thoroughly to a higher level of security," predicted Payne.

SkyeTek is a "software-centric" company, meaning that much of the functionality of its reader module offerings are realized by software rather than hardware. Such is the case with the new security enhancements, which were made through software on the readers. As a result, the reader size, form factor, and cost have remained the same despite the improvements.

Read the announcement from SkyeTek
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