RFID Attacks: What They Are and What They Might Mean For the Key Card Access Industry  

Though the key card access industry actually uses a number of different technologies to provide the types of services that its customers can depend on, one of the most popular is radio frequency identification, or RFID for short. RFID uses a series of radio waves to actually read and capture information stored on a tag or key card. When one of your customers places their RFID card near the card reader on your property, their credentials are submitted and they are either given or denied access depending on the situation.

Unfortunately, RFID is not a magic solution to all of your security needs. As is true with every type of technology, it is prone to certain security issues. RFID attacks, in particular, are common among people with malicious intentions and your best chance at protecting against them involves learning as much about them as possible.

RFID Attacks: What They Are and What You Can Do

There are two main types of RFID attacks that you need to be aware of – those that affect the key card itself and those that target the card reader. Attacks that affect the key card can actually use a small, hand-held scanning device to essentially “clone” someone’s card – all without it ever leaving their possession. Once a target has been identified, all someone would need to do is be within close proximity for just a few seconds to create a viable copy of said card.

Attacks that exploit the card reader are a little different – there are applications available for the Android operating system that would essentially allow someone to “override” the reader, gaining access to wherever they wanted in just a few seconds.

Thankfully, avoiding both of these types of attacks is relatively straightforward – you just have to continue to take a proactive approach to your environment’s security. When choosing a key card access provider, always pick a company with the highest levels of encryption possible. Most RFID systems don’t actually use encryption at all, so the simple fact that yours does will go a long way towards mitigating attacks that target the key cards themselves as much as possible.

Likewise, you (and your provider) should always conduct regular assessments of your key card access system to make sure that all system firmware and related applications are up-to-date. Firmware updates are regularly released that not only improve performance, but also fix vulnerabilities as they’re identified to make sure that your key card access system continues to offer the superior security that you’ve come to rely on.

Simply taking these two steps should help you avoid the majority of the RFID attacks that you would be likely to encounter.

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