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How Can I Create an Intrusion-Detection System Using RFID?

Posted By RFID Journal, 06.20.2014

Would the technology be appropriate for such an application?

—Name withheld


Generally speaking, RFID technology is used to identify things that are tagged or have ID cards with embedded transponders. So an access-control system, for instance, can keep people out by requiring them to present an RFID-enabled employee badge to a door reader. Without the proper badge, the door would remain locked.

RFID is not generally used to detect intruders, since they typically do not tag themselves so they can be tracked and identified. However, I am aware of one novel use of passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) tags that takes advantage of the human body's ability to absorb radio waves at the frequencies used by passive UHF systems, in order to detect the unauthorized presence of a person.

Here's how it works: Tags are placed along a perimeter wall, every few feet, with readers installed every 10 feet or so from each other and set back from the wall by about 15 to 20 feet. The tags are read constantly, so if someone climbs over the wall, his or her body comes between a tag and a reader, temporarily blocking the signal from reaching the reader, and thus indicating an intruder's presence.

We feature a white paper in our library explaining the design of such a system, titled "Intrusion Detection with Radio Frequency Identification: Secure, Consistent and Easily Deployed Intrusion Detection." I am unaware of any business or organization that has deployed this patented solution so far, though it is possible that companies have done so and simply want to keep quiet about it. The patent holder and author is Kenneth B. Cecil, whose contact information is listed in the white paper.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal


Abdullah Alqhtani 2014-06-20 09:19:27 PM
First, thanks for your answer and such valuable information. I am actually the one who asked this question. I didn't mean an intrusion detection using RFID, but I meant creating an intrusion detection in RFID. This means detecting anomaly in reader-tag communication. Also, this means detecting attacks and threats against RFID. I am trying to build on an intrusion detection similar to a paper called "Intrusion detection in RFID systems" which have been published in IEEE. I am doing this to be my master thesis. Please share any suggestion.
Mark Roberti 2014-06-23 09:14:04 AM
I have never heard of an attack against and RFID system, but it is likely to happen as the technology proliferates. I have no idea how one would prevent this, as I am not an engineer. I would suggest you contact the RFID Security Alliance (http://www.rfidsecurityalliance.org/).

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