NXP Semiconductors

NXP: Security Features Ensure a bright Future for RFID and NFC | Part 1

Articles | By NXP Semiconductors | 26 August 2016
NXP has developed the “UCODE” DNA technology for UHF (RAIN) ICs. It combines the highest security demands for stored information with the best possible performance in terms of read range and speed. NXP has developed the “UCODE” DNA technology for UHF (RAIN) ICs. It combines the highest security demands for stored information with the best possible performance in terms of read range and speed. Photo: NXP

Although more than five billion UHF (RAIN) tags were sold worldwide in 2015, NXP understands that the technology needs to be developed to meet future needs, and to significantly advance the IoT.

The times has passed when RFID applications were used only in production and logistics, far away from the interests of consumers. RFID technology is increasingly entering peoples’ lives around the globe: in smart homes, or when shopping or making payments. For NXP, the global market leader for RFID ICs, there are clear signals that security issues are increasingly coming to the fore. Ralf Kodritsch thinks it is important to listen carefully to which market requires which specific technical solution, in order to best advise users.

In an interview with “RFID im Blick Global“, the Director of the Global Report and Segment Manager for RFID Solutions and his colleague Brintha Koether, Senior Director & GM Payments report on the challenges of developing the right solutions for the changing market demands and for different country-specific needs.

Ralf Kodritsch, Director Global Segment Manager RFID Solutions, and Brintha Koether, Senior Director & GM Payments, NXP Semiconductors, in interview with “RFID im Blick Global“

Always more, always faster, always more secure?

Payment using contactless cards has already been established in numerous countries worldwide. In Germany it is still a new phenomenon, says Brintha Koether: “In 2015, more than a billion contactlessly-triggered transactions were counted worldwide. In Germany, on the other hand, the spread is still rather slow, although the rollout of contactless card terminals by large retail chains such as Aldi and Lidl has comprehensively prepared and advanced the infrastructure.“

Another trend is the ‘digital wallet’, as Ralf Kodritsch adds: “For more than 13 years, the contactless Oyster card with ‘MIFARE’ chip has been successfully used in London’s public transport. Today, passengers can use the contactless function of their credit card as ‘Oyster-media’. Thus, a card or regular charging is no longer necessary.“ Advanced card options bring new challenges in terms of transaction speed and security, says Ralf Kodritsch: “Mobile payment via smartphone or via wearables, such as Activity Tracker with NFC functionality, is more and more accepted worldwide.

Ralf KodritschRalf Kodritsch “The more object connectivity is realized – in the automotive environment, whether traveling, or at home - the more the need for technological security grows.“

There are also new options for using contactless smart cards for payment and ticketing. NXP has been focused for years on developing innovative features to continuously increase the security level of contactless solutions. Now, the demand is increasing by leaps and bounds, and NXP can deliver marketspecific solutions based on many years of accumulated expertise.

Country-specific security requirements

“Security“ – facing the IoT – is a big word that combines numerous needs and requirements. “The more connectivity there is in almost all areas – in the automotive environment, while traveling, or in private homes – the stronger the need for technological safety becomes. Across the World, security aspects have great importance for contactless identification and communication,“ says Ralf Kodritsch. He explains: “NXP identified these needs early and developed different methods and solutions to ensure the required safety levels were met.“ Brintha Koether is convinced that “NXP is a world leader in the production of secure chips. The ‘Trust provisioning service‘ ensures that master keys and certificates match and are stored with maximal security on the hardware.“

Better IC s through different requirements?

Brintha KoetherBrintha Koether “The entire smart card sector, and bank cards in particular, originated in Europe. Therefore, NXP always pays special attention to the European market when it comes to new security products. Europe is very interesting for NXP because of the different country-specific security requirements. What seems like an additional challenge at first glance is turned by NXP into an opportunity to test different solutions in different markets. The growing know-how gained through the variety of projects that are employed at the same time is crucial.

It would not be as extensive if there were only individual projects,” explains Brintha Koether, drawing on the past as evidence: “The security sector and the ‘Tech Community’ have been more pronounced in Europe than on other continents. In addition, NXP has been cooperating with the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) in Germany and with the Agence nationale de la sécurité of systèmes d’information (ANSSI) in France on security issues for many years.”

Increased manipulation risk in the IoT?

“NXP relies on the prediction that around 50 billion ‘Connected Things’ will be interconnected in the IoT by 2020,” says Ralf Kodritsch. This is, of course, a huge potential market for IC manufacturers like NXP. At the same time, the company is aware of its responsibilities. “With an increase in the number of smart products that can interact with their environment to optimize industrial processes, to make transport safer – such as ‘autonomous driving’ - or to make everyday life more comfortable, the risk of manipulation increases too.”

When a manipulated refrigerator orders beef steak instead of pork, it is annoying but has no severe consequences. If intelligent traffic systems or Smart City applications are hacked, the potential hazard is evident. “With this fact in mind, NXP is working to transfer its extensive security expertise in the fields of banking and ID solutions to Industry 4.0, IoT, and smart home applications.”

Soon in RFID im Blick Online: Brintha Koether and Ralf Kodritsch take the 2nd part of advice on security concerns and answer questions about solutions in the retail environment and e-commerce.

NXP Semiconductors at the RFID tomorrow 2016 on September 19th and 20th in Dusseldorf, Germany

RFID tomorrow 2016Robert Paulus, RFID Technical Solution Manager at NXP speeks in Forum 2: RFID, NFC and Sensor-Tags - Software and Integration - Successful Projects about: "Omni channel enabled by NFC and RAIN RFID (UHF) - The solution for enhanced customer experience and increasing sales."

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Last modified on Friday, 26 August 2016 10:32
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