Quantum Information Processing

, Volume 15, Issue 11, pp 4759–4771 | Cite as

Detecting relay attacks on RFID communication systems using quantum bits

  • Hoda Jannati
  • Ebrahim Ardeshir-Larijani


RFID systems became widespread in variety of applications because of their simplicity in manufacturing and usability. In the province of critical infrastructure protection, RFID systems are usually employed to identify and track people, objects and vehicles that enter restricted areas. The most important vulnerability which is prevalent among all protocols employed in RFID systems is against relay attacks. Until now, to protect RFID systems against this kind of attack, the only approach is the utilization of distance-bounding protocols which are not applicable over low-cost devices such as RFID passive tags. This work presents a novel technique using emerging quantum technologies to detect relay attacks on RFID systems. Recently, it is demonstrated that quantum key distribution (QKD) can be implemented in a client–server scheme where client only requires an on-chip polarization rotator that may be integrated into a handheld device. Now we present our technique for a tag–reader scenario which needs similar resources as the mentioned QKD scheme. We argue that our technique requires less resources and provides lower probability of false alarm for the system, compared with distance-bounding protocols, and may pave the way to enhance the security of current RFID systems.


Relay attack RFID systems Distance-bounding protocol Quantum information processing Quantum cryptography 



We thank Elham Kashefi and Anna Pappa for their useful discussions.


  1. 1.
    Desmedt, Y.: Major security problems with the unforgeable Feige-Fiat-Shamir proofs of identity and how to overcome them. In: Proceedings of the Sixth Worldwide Congress on Computer and Communications Security and Protection, pp. 147–159 (1988)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Issovits, W., Hutter, M.: Weaknesses of the ISO/IEC 14443 protocol regarding relay attacks. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on RFID Technologies and Applications, pp. 335–342 (2011)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thevenon, P., Savry, O., Tedjini, S.: On the weakness of contactless systems under relay attacks. In: Proceedings of the Nineteenth IEEE International Conference on Software, Telecommunications and Computer Networks, pp. 1–5 (2011)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Yang, T., Kong, L., Xin, W., Hu, J., Chen, Z.: Resisting relay attacks on vehicular passive keyless entry and start systems. In: Proceedings of the Nineth IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy Systems and Knowledge Discovery, pp. 2232–2236 (2012)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jannati, H., Falahati, A.: An RFID search protocol secured against relay attack based on distance bounding approach. Wirel. Pers. Commun. 85(3), 711–726 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hancke, G.P.: A practical relay attack on ISO 14443 proximity cards. Technical Report 2005-02, University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, Cambridge (2005)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Miles, S.B., Sarma, S.E., Williams, J.R. (eds.): RFID Technology and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Brands, S., Chaum, D.: Distance-bounding protocols. In: Proceedings of the Advances in Cryptology (EUROCRYPT’93), vol. 765 of LNCS, pp. 344–359 (1993)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hancke, G.P., Kuhn, M.: An RFID distance bounding protocol. In: Proceedings of the first International Conference on Security and Privacy for Emergent Areas in Communications Networks (SecureComm’05), pp. 67–73 (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lee, S., Kim, J.S., Hong, S.J., Kim, J.: Distance bounding with delayed responses. IEEE Commun. Lett. 16(9), 1478–1481 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Trujillo-Rasua, R., Martin, B., Avoine, G.: Distance bounding facing both mafia and distance frauds. IEEE Trans. Wirel. Commun. 13(10), 5690–5698 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Jannati, H., Falahati, A.: Analysis of relay, terrorist fraud and distance fraud attacks on RFID systems. Int. J. Crit. Infrastruct. Prot. 11, 51–61 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Clulow, J., Hancke, G., Kuhn, M., Moore, T.: So near and yet so far: distance bounding attacks in wireless networks. In: Proceedings of the third European Workshop on Security and Privacy in Ad-Hoc and Sensor Networks (ESAS’06), vol. 4357 of LNCS, pp. 83–97, Springer, berlin (2006)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hancke, G.P.: Design of a secure distance-bounding channel for RFID. J. Netw. Comput. Appl. 34(3), 877–887 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Bennett, C.H., Brassard, G.: Quantum cryptography: public key distribution and coin tossing. In: Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Computers, Systems and Signal Processing, pp. 175–179 (1984)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zhang, P., Aungskunsiri, K., Martyn-Lopez, E., Wabnig, J., Lobino, M., Nock, R.W., Munns, J., Bonneau, D., Jiang, P., Li, H.W., Laing, A., Rarity, J.G., Niskanen, A.O., Thompson, M.G., OBrien, J.L.: Reference frame independent quantum key distribution server with telecom tether for on-chip client. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112(13), 1–5 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Nielsen, M.A., Chuang, I.L.: Quantum Computation and Quantum Information. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2000)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gisin, N., Fasel, S., Kraus, B., Zbinden, H., Ribordy, G.: Trojan-horse attacks on quantum-key-distribution systems. Physical Review A 73(2) (2006)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cai, Q.Y.: Eavesdropping on the two-way quantum communication protocols with invisible photons. Phys. Lett. A 351(1), 23–25 (2006)ADSCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sun, Z., Zhang, C., Wang, B., Li, Q., Long, D.: Improvements on multiparty quantum key agreement with single particles. Quantum Inf. Process. 12(11), 3411–3420 (2013)ADSMathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lin, J., Hwang, T.: New circular quantum secret sharing for remote agents. Quantum Inf. Process. 12(1), 685–697 (2013)ADSMathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Lucamarini, M., Choi, I., Ward, M.B., Dynes, J.F., Yuan, Z.L., Shields, A.J.: Practical security bounds against the trojan-horse attack in quantum key distribution. Physical Review X 5(3), (2015)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mandal, K., Fan, X., Gong, G.: Warbler: A lightweight pseudorandom number generator for EPC C1 Gen2 tags. Workshop on RFID and IoT Security (RFIDSec’12 Asia), Taipei, Taiwan, pp.73–84 (2012)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    EPCglobal (2013) EPC Radio-Frequency Identity Protocols Class-1 Gen-2 UHF RFID Protocol for Communications at 860 MHz–960 MHz.
  25. 25.
    Choi, S.M., Moon, B.H.: Implementation of energy efficient LDPC code for wireless sensor node. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Communication and Networking, vol. 266 of CCIS, pp. 248–257, Springer, Berlin (2011)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Piyade, B., Zhang, C., Roberts, M.: 16-bit Parallel Input CRC, VLSI Design Project, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University. (2008). Accessed 22 Oct (2013)
  27. 27.
    Gao, L., Ma, M., Shu, Y., Wei, Y.: An ultralightweight RFID authentication protocol with CRC and permutation. J. Netw. Comput. Appl. 41, 37–46 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceInstitute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM)TehranIran

Personalised recommendations