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HID Global Seeks to Improve RFID Security Via Hand Gestures

The company is developing software that will allow a user to perform a series of hand-motion sequences to authorize operation of an RFID card or a smartphone's RFID functionality.
By Beth Bacheldor

The gesture-based software could be used to lock or unlock a door and also to unlock computers, applications and more. For example, it could be used to control mobile phone functions, such as initiating a payment transaction. It could also be used by someone to secretly signal that he is using his card or phone to gain access but is under duress. "The potential is endless," says Tam Hulusi, HID Global's senior VP of strategic innovation and intellectual property.

Some examples of three-movement sequences that could be used to unlock an RFID tag.

"This is ideal for anybody who wants convenience, and that convenience is defined by the ease of natural body movements," Hulusi says. "This really addresses where we are going, as a society, with electronics that are so smart and go wherever we go. It also addresses how the way we interact with technology is changing, whether we are talking to it, as in Apple's Siri (the human-like "intelligent personal assistant" voice-recognition application available on newer iPhones and iPads), or simply moving our hands."

As a side note, Hulusi said that HID Global announced its patents on the same week that Douglas C. Engelbart, who invented the computer mouse, died. "Engelbart invented the two-dimensional mouse, which changed the way we all interacted with computers. I think 3D gesture technology is going to change not just how we interact with computers and screens, but lots of other things."

HID Global says its gesture-based software could be installed on an RFID card or handheld device regardless of the radio frequency and RFID used by that card or device. The software, however, is designed to boost the security and privacy of RFID-enabled transactions, including minimizing the possibility of a rogue device surreptitiously stealing the user's RFID credential in a "bump and clone" attack. If a user's NFC-enabled smartphone or smart card is lost or compromised, it will be unusable by another user who does not know the motion-based password. However, when that card or device is unlocked by the correct motion-based password, it can be read by any standard RFID interrogator designed to read that type of card or device. The software could also be used in conjunction with another factor of authentication, such as the use of a PIN.

The new patents granted to HID Global for this invention are US 8,427,320 and US 8,232,879, and the company said it has received notification that the European Patent Office has indicated their intention to grant a patent.

USER COMMENTS

James Reardan 2013-08-18 02:28:16 AM
Wow, HID gradually expanding their market...

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