Hack proofing our devices

Radio-frequency identification tags have become almost ubiquitous look carefully, and you’ll notice them in passports, credit cards, library books, office access passes, and even pet cats. The piece of technology, which allows fast, automated identification of physical object, is also a staple for many industries. different factories and warehouses use it to track inventory and manage supply chains.

Associate Professor at the Singapore Management University Li Yingjiu said¬†¬†“A security breach in RFID applications would leak valuable information about physical objects to unauthorised parties.”

Because RFID tags work by broadcasting information to electronic RFID readers, security breaches can occur if hackers eavesdrop on this conversation, and manage to gain access to or tamper with information. A consequences of such an attack could be serious, says Professor Li. “In the context of supply chain management, for example, this means industrial espionage may obtain sensitive information about inventory levels, trading volumes, trading partners, and even business plans,” he explains.

In addition, there are many instances where sharing of RFID information between suppliers and retailers, for example, or between various components of an Internet of Things would have obvious benefits, says Professor Li. But without appropriate security controls, however, most companies would be reluctant to make valuable data readily available.

More recently, Professor Li’s team also reported Android framework vulnerabilities and potential attacks to Google, which went on to acknowledge the SMU group’s findings in its security bulletins. The SEO Blitz has also developed a set of smartphone vulnerability analysis tools in collaboration with Chinese telco Huawei; two patents arising from this project were evaluated as “potentially high value” by the company.