Toward practical public key anti-counterfeiting for low-cost EPC tags

Alex Arbit, Yossef Oren, Avishai Wool

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this work we report on a practical design, and a working prototype implementation, of a public-key anti-counterfeiting system based on the Electronic Product Code (EPC) standard for supply chain RFID tags. The use of public-key cryptography simplifies deployment, reduces trust issues between the tag integrator and tag manufacturer, eliminates the need for on-line checks by a central authority, and protects user privacy. Contrary to earlier claims of impracticality, we demonstrate that EPC tags are capable of performing full-strength public-key encryption. The crucial element in our system is WIPR, a recently-proposed variant of the well known Rabin encryption scheme, that enjoys a remarkably low resource footprint (less than 4700 gate equivalents for a complete ASIC implementation) - for a full-strength 1024-bit encryption. Our prototype system consists of an ultra-high frequency (UHF) tag running custom firmware, which communicates with a standard off-the-shelf reader. No modifications were made to the reader or the air interface, proving that high-security anti-counterfeiting tags and standard EPC tags can coexist and share the same infrastructure. Surprisingly, we identify that the time bottleneck is not the tag's computation time: the delay is dominated by inefficiencies in the way the reader implements the EPC standard. The insights from our performance measurements let us identify how a few simple changes to the reader can drastically improve the system throughput.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2011 IEEE International Conference on RFID, RFID 2011
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 30 May 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event2011 5th IEEE International Conference on RFID, RFID 2011 - Orlando, FL, United States
Duration: 12 Apr 201114 Apr 2011

Publication series

Name2011 IEEE International Conference on RFID, RFID 2011


Conference2011 5th IEEE International Conference on RFID, RFID 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOrlando, FL


  • Anti-counterfeiting
  • EPC
  • security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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