Cryptanalytic Attacks on MIFARE Classic Protocol

  • Jovan Dj. Golić
Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-36095-4_16

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7779)
Cite this paper as:
Golić J.D. (2013) Cryptanalytic Attacks on MIFARE Classic Protocol. In: Dawson E. (eds) Topics in Cryptology – CT-RSA 2013. CT-RSA 2013. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7779. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


MIFARE Classic is the most widely used contactless smart card in the world. It implements a proprietary symmetric-key mutual authentication protocol with a dedicated reader and a proprietary stream cipher algorithm known as CRYPTO1, both of which have been reverse engineered. The existing attacks in various scenarios proposed in the literature demonstrate that MIFARE Classic does not offer the desired 48-bit security level. The most practical scenario is the card-only scenario where a fake, emulated reader has a wireless access to a genuine card in the on-line stage of the attack. The most effective known attack in the card-only scenario is a differential attack, which is claimed to require about 10 seconds of average on-line time in order to reconstruct the secret key from the card. This paper presents a critical comprehensive survey of currently known attacks on MIFARE Classic, puts them into the right perspective in light of the prior art in cryptanalysis, and proposes a number of improvements. It is shown that the differential attack is incorrectly analyzed and is optimized accordingly. A new attack of a similar, differential type is also introduced. In comparison with the optimized differential attack, it has a higher success probability of about 0.906 and a more than halved on-line time of about 1.8 seconds.


RFID NFC smart card attacks key reconstruction attacks stream ciphers repeated nonce attacks inversion atacks resynchronization attacks differential attacks 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jovan Dj. Golić
    • 1
  1. 1.Security LabTelecom Italia ITTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations