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Can Jannie verify? Usability of display-equipped RFID tags for security purposes

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The recent emergence of RFID tags capable of performing public key operations enables a number of new applications in commerce (e.g., RFID-enabled credit cards) and security (e.g., ePassports and access-control badges). While the use of public key cryptography in RFID tags mitigates many difficult security issues, certain important usability-related issues remain, particularly when RFID tags are used for financial transactions or bearer identification. In this paper, we focus exclusively on techniques with user involvement for secure user-to-tag authentication, transaction verification, reader expiration and revocation checking, as well as pairing of RFID tags with other personal devices. Our approach is based on two factors: (1) recent advances in hardware and manufacturing have made it possible to mass-produce inexpensive passive display-equipped RFID tags, and (2) high-end RFID tags used in financial transactions or identification are attended by a human user (typically, their owner). Our techniques rely on user involvement coupled with on-tag displays to achieve better security and privacy. Since user acceptance is a crucial factor in this context, we conducted comprehensive user studies to assess usability of all considered methods. This paper reports on our findings. © 2013 - IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.

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