Rights Management with NFC Smartphones and Electronic ID Cards: A Proof of Concept for Modern Car Sharing

Timo Kasper, Alexander Kühn, David Oswald, Christian Zenger, Chris­tof Paar

9th Workshop on RFID Security, RFIDsec 2013, July 9-11, 2013, Graz, Austria


Numerous contactless smartcards (and the corresponding RFID readers) are compatible with NFC, e.g., Mifare cards and the governmental ID card in Germany called nPA. NFC-enabled smartphones and other NFC objects such as door locks have become widespread. Existing and future applications of the up-and-coming technology require a secure way of assigning and transporting user rights, e.g., for opening and starting a car or access control to a building. In this paper, we propose a scheme that securely identifies a customer on a website and creates a (personalized) credential containing the booked access permissions. This credential is safely transported via the Internet to the user’s smartphone and finally grants access to an NFC-enabled object. In our proof-of-concept implementation, an application on a commercial smartphone is used for communicating with a web server of a car rental agency. During the booking process, the phone operates as an RFID reader to interrogate the nPA of the user and utilizes the security mechanisms of the nPA, including the PACE protocol, for identifying the customer. After having obtained the credential, the smartphone emulates a Mifare DESFire card that is read by the NFC door lock of a rental car to verify the validity of the access permission. We discuss security issues and limitations of our approach.

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