NFC tags (also known as RFID tags) are transponders with small amount of stored data. We are using passive NFC tags, i.e. those that do not have their own energy source. These passive NFC tags, which are significantly cheaper than active ones and therefore also more widely used, receive the energy required to transmit the stored data from the electromagnetic field of the NFC-tag reader. Such a reader is, for example, your smartphone. You are probably already using the NFC functionality already to make payments with your smartphone or possibly as a ticket when using public transportion.
NFC tags are used in a variety of applications today, be it the passport, the cash card or your car key. For all these security-related issueds, NFC tags are used. In the field of supply chain management or logistics or even with a simple card for paying in your cafeteria, NFC tags make life easier and bring considerable efficiency gains.
You have probably already seen the logo below in one form or another, and probably also on your smartphone.
You may already be familiar with NFC technology when using Google Pay or Apple Pay. In many countries, NFC is also used in local public transport, i.e. the smartphone replaces the paper ticket or the QR code on the smartphone screen.
NFC stands for “Near Field Communication” and allows contactless data transmission. If you want to use it to read an NFC tag, the data from the RFID tag is read out using electromagnetic waves generated by your smartphone. The whole reading process happens with very little energy, which is why you should keep your smartphone close to the NFC tag.
History of RFID tags to combat the counterfeiting industry
When counterfeiting became a problem in some industries, e.g. for printer cartridges more than 10 years ago, a solution was to use NFC tags with the ISO 15693 standard on cartridges in combination with NFC readers which are integrated in the printers. It only took a few years for counterfeit cartridges to carry cloned NFC tags, which nullified the advantage of this initially functioning solution.
As a next step, NFC tags were upgraded by adding more “security”. The industry started to use more advanced ISO 14443 NFC tags. This, however, not only increased the costs for the NFC tags themselves, but also for the readers and the entire back-end architecture.
⇒ Hence, adding more security and at the same time increasing the overall costs, reduced the overall benefits for using NFC tags to fight counterfeit products.
XIPHOO solution – More security at lower costs due to improved technology
In recent years, the XIPHOO team has developed a highly secure process that allows the simple and inexpensive ISO 15693 NFC tags to be used. Our high level of security is achieved due to the authentication process which not not solely relies on the NFC tag itself, but also uses a secure, encrypted online connection to the XIPHOO server. This unique combination enables cost-effective NFC tags to be used for a highly secure authentication solution. Our system is scalable, secure and inexpensive.