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SkyeTek Adding Security Support into Passive Platforms

The firm's ReaderWare software can be used to add data security to HF tags now, and to UHF Gen 2 tags once they become available with extended memory.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jul 11, 2006SkyeTek, a Boulder, Colo., designer of RFID hardware and software systems for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and technology integrators, says it is adding support for standards-based data encryption and hashing algorithms to ReaderWare software. ReaderWare is part of SkyeTek's Advanced Universal Reader Architecture (AURA).

The company is supporting the security tools so manufacturers or integrators of RFID systems can enable end users to protect data encoded to tags used for payments, electronic pedigrees and other applications in which sensitive information, such as account information or personally identifiable data, is encoded to tags.

Specifically, ReaderWare now supports both Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), the data encryption algorithm standard ratified by the National Security Agency (NSA), and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA), the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) algorithm standard for hashing.

In cryptology, a hash algorithm creates a digital fingerprint used to authenticate communication between a tag and reader. It also supports the Digital Encryption Standard (DES) and Triple DES standards, as well as Philips' MiFare and DESFire and Texas Instruments' HFI tags, which all use proprietary algorithms.

ReaderWare runs the algorithms and stores the required "handshake" between tags and interrogators, enabling the reading and encoding of tags to use the algorithms. ReaderWare runs on the M2 HF SkyeModule and M9 UHF SkyeModule (EPC Gen 2-compliant) interrogator modules, both of which SkyeTek offers in its new item-level developer's kit (see SkyeTek HF/UHF Development Kit).

None of the EPC UHF Gen 2 tags, or any of the legacy Gen 1 tag formats, currently on the market have enough memory to run the data security standards SkyeTek is supporting. So while ReaderWare runs on both HF and UHF interrogators, only the data encoded to HF tags—and only those compliant with ISO's 14443 A/B and ISO 15693 standards—can be secured utilizing ReaderWare.

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