How Can I Protect My RFID Data from Cloning?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsHow Can I Protect My RFID Data from Cloning?
RFID Journal Staff asked 1 year ago

I have inserted my data onto an RFID chip. If another person were to clone my data from the chip and insert it in another chip, he or she could use it illegally. What is the mechanism to protect my information so that no one else can clone it?

—Hidayat

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Hidayat,

Passive UHF RFID transponders can have a serial number field as well as user memory fields. It would be possible for someone to read your tag, copy the serial number and write that number to another tag, just as someone could take a photograph of a bar code, then copy it and place it on a different product. There are, however, several ways in which you, your partner or your customer can determine if an RFID tag is legitimate or counterfeit. One way is to use chain of custody or blockchain technology.

As you produced an item, you would create a record of it in a database containing the item’s name, the date on which it was produced, its location and its RFID tag serial number. Once the item was shipped, you would note the date and time in the database, and you would provide access to your partner or customer so that the other could look up that product’s history. If you’d shipped it to a specific distributor on, say, Dec. 10, 2019, and the product was now being offered to you from a different distributor, then you would know the item was not legitimate.

It would also be possible to read something called a tag ID (TID), which is a unique serial number burned into every microchip by the chip’s manufacturer. This cannot be copied and rewritten to a new RFID tag, because it is part of the chip itself. So you could associate the TID with the tag serial number in a database. Let’s say the TID was 1234567890 and the serial number was ADIK918383. If you read the tag and got the serial number ADIK918383 but a different TID, you would know the tag was counterfeit.

Reading both the TID and the serial number takes a bit more time, and there would be some latency as the information in the database was being checked. As such, this is not something you would want to do for low-end items that aren’t often counterfeited. It would be useful, however, for high-end products that are commonly counterfeited.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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