I read a very interesting paper created by the University of Massachusetts,Â RSA Laboratories and Innealta, Inc.<<
This paper primarily relates to the compromise of contact less payment technologies (RFID) if the RFID and/or reader have not been implemented correctly or the solution provider has used an inappropriate type of RFID and discusses the challenges around Chip and Pin with respect to financial transactions e.g. EMV standards and compliance.
Additionally, the paper describes a RFID relay method which is being discussed within many forums around the world and we have now begun to see equipment being produced for the RFID skimmers/clonners to use for malicious means.
The overarching point of this paper is to use an appropriate RFID & Chip solutions which supports the security/privacy of the user and purpose of theÂ transaction (financial or non financial)<<
The paper can be found at http://prisms.cs.umass.edu/~kevinfu/papers/RFID-CC-manuscript.pdf
In modern payment RFID & Chip solutions, newer devices can be used which possess a high degree of processing power and are therefore able to execute strong cryptographic methods (such as digital signatures) to protect the identification and payment information whilst the transaction is occurring.
These systems often utilise bidirectional authentication between the RFID/Chip scanner and the RFID tag/Chip prior to performing the transaction. These methods and cryptographic algorithms are accepted and proven to work within the traditional payment markets.
As mentioned in the paper, some solution store static digitally signed and/or encrypted data which is provided to the RFID/Chip reader when queried, but this data never changes from one transaction to another. This may allow a malicious individual to capture and re-inject the data into the reader at a later stage. The alternative to storing static digitally signed and/or encrypted data is to negotiate a key exchange at the time of the transaction in which the card/value information is encrypted and subsequently transmitted. With this method the transmitted data
changes on every transaction and therefore even if a malicious individual was to capture the encrypted transaction data from one transaction, this would not be accepted by the reader if re-injected at a later stage.
Although this is the case today, older RFID/Chip solutions often use technologies which are not appropriate for financial transactions and therefore may be compromised easily and in some cases without the knowledge of the card holder, merchant or acquirer.
I find this interesting how some of these less secure solution have been approved for use by acquiring banks and the card schemes around the world (if they were told) in recent years, where it has been seen that these solutions have utilised techniques or deployment methods which can be compromised. These technologies and techniques would never be approved within the Point of Sale (PoS) or traditional banking markets.
It can only be assumed that the need to get product to market quickly at the expense of proper testing, understanding and with due consideration to industry lessons learnt has succeeded again.