Discipline: Computer Sciences and Information Management
Subcategory: Computer Science & Information Systems
Room: Park Tower 8219
Sophia Abraham - University of South Florida
ypothesis and Importance: Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a manner of wireless communication that utilizes electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags. RFID tags are highly constrained devices and the embedded microcontrollers pose difficulties in security challenges and vulnerabilities such as data integrity due to smaller processors and fewer registers. Modern encryption and hashing algorithms were designed to operate on general purpose computers with Central Processing Units that possess capabilities of implementing complex cryptographic algorithms. Due to system constraints, this study sought to implement and assess the efficacy of “lightweight” (work within the confines of electronics with limited resources) cryptographic and hashing algorithms on an RFID system and analyze resource consumption. Methods: Lightweight hashing and cryptographic algorithms “Chaskey” and “ASCON” were programmed onto the microcontroller of a Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP5) and the FRAM and RAM utilization of the algorithms was assessed. The WISP5 provided a programmable platform that allowed experimentation with low-power sensing and communication. The WISP5 served as a passively powered UHF RFID tag within the system. Afterwards, a program was created to enable asymmetric key authentication between the WISP5 and an RFID reader. Results: Both algorithms were successfully implemented on the WISP5 and consumed under 20% of the memory resources. During the initial implementation, “ASCON” utilized less resources than “Chaskey” using 8522 bytes of FRAM and 439 bytes of RAM out of the available 64 kB of FRAM and 2 kB of RAM. Both algorithms were able to secure communication, discern between authenticated and un-authenticated tags, though “ASCON” utilized less resources. Conclusions: Though both algorithms were successful in enabling authenticated communication between the WISP5 and reader “ASCON” initially utilized less resources. However, it is important to note that the algorithms were not completely optimized prior to implementation and thus the memory usage could be further reduced by removing unnecessary variables and operations and modifying the code to simply process an Electronic Product Code (EPC) which uniquely identifies RFID tags. With slight modifications “Chaskey” utilized fewer resources than “ASCON”. It would be important to optimize the algorithms and assess additional parameters of efficacy and security. Though this project demonstrates authenticated communication between the WISP and reader on a simplified and small scale, similar approaches can be implemented to alleviate security concerns within complex RFID systems with numerous tags transmitting and receiving data.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Institute of Standards and Technology
Faculty Advisor: Ajit Mujumdar, email@example.com
Role: I programmed in C lightweight hashing and cryptographic algorithms 'ASCON' and 'Chaskey' onto the microcontroller (MSP430FR5969) of a WISP to secure sensor data and protect access routines, analyzed resource consumption of the algorithms on the microcontrollers, sought to reduce resource consumption and wrote a program (Python/C) to enable asymmetric tag authentication between WISP5's and a reader.