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Security & identification

Security and identification trends: Security

Read about the most exciting trends in the field of security and identification technology:

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Access control / ticketing

RFID systems offer advantages in access control systems of all sizes

Increasingly, key systems are using identification technologies, with applications now ranging from accessing hotel rooms via (contactless) chip cards through contactless access to car sharing vehicles to accessing maximum security prisons. The user holds the RFID transponder in front of the reader and, using the exchanged data, the reader or a connected computer checks whether the identification ‘key’ is authorised to open the door. High-security crypto controllers with a very high security level can also be used, which means that the security level can be set entirely according to requirements. From travel cards for public transport – for example in London, Seoul or Taipei – to lift passes for skiers and entry tickets with electronic security features, the applications of RFID systems in ticketing are many and varied.

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Authentication

Authentication and encryption are two intertwined technologies that help to insure that your data remains secure

For electronic data exchange, for reasons of data protection it is extremely important that data is only exchanged with the desired peer and that the system does not transfer data to unauthorised communication partners. The relevant identification technologies can be used to easily implement the desired security mechanisms – right up to the maximum security level of EAL 5+.

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Cloud computing

Cloud computing has several distinct characteristics that distinguish it from a traditionally-hosted computing environment

In cloud computing, data is exchanged between different systems usually via the Internet and external memories. Since this data often involves system-related information, internal company data or information that requires data protection, secure data transmission and data encryption are particularly important. Crypto controllers offer a smart solution using symmetrical or asymmetrical encryption methods depending on the system.

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Immobiliser systems

The conventional use of RFID in a car is clearly the immobiliser, while keyless entry systems are also identification products

Immobiliser systems are used to prevent anyone from starting the car without a special key. The key contains a RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip in the head of the key. When the key is near the antenna loop around the ignition lock cylinder and the ignition switch is in the “on” position, the key will reflect an encrypted code to the key transponder ECU. The key transponder ECU checks to see if the key is registered as belonging to the car, then sends a message to the Control ECU.

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IP protection

Wherever there is a need for IP protection or protection from imitations, ID technology can help – with both hardware and software protection

Hardware and software can also be clearly assigned to one another using ID. Manufacturers can also clearly identify original accessories when providing spare parts. For example, the system might only enable a specific function when it detects an ID tag in the original accessory. This means that manufacturers can be sure that sensor data is only coming from original parts and that only original actuators are controlled, which manufacturers can be confident offer correct functionality. Over-build protection is also implemented effectively using ID technology: if for example a manufacturer is contracted to produce 1000 devices, then the OEM provides 1000 specially encoded ID tags, without which any remaining devices will not operate. For an even higher level of protection, individual firmware is then assigned to each ID chip.

Payment

Security identification chips are also increasingly being used in credit cards

In Germany, the money card has already been established for many years. At cash machines, the end customer first loads a defined amount of money from his account onto the chip card. For small cash transactions, e.g., a ticket vending machine for the rapid transit system, data exchange between the pay card chip and the machine is enough to ensure payment; communication with the bank is not required. Security identification chips are also increasingly being used in credit cards. While reading a credit card chip remains highly unusual in the USA, the French have been paying for years using the credit card chip and PIN system. In Germany, although the chip is used for credit card identification, most users still pay using their signature and not by entering their credit card PIN.

Pay-TV

Unlike many other identification applications, pay TV uses contact-type rather than wireless ID technology

The cryptographic controller in the access card for pay TV is then used to enable the service or decode the transmitter signal. Vouchers for a trailer, a film sequence or even an entire film can be implemented efficiently using ID technology: an advertisement includes an NFC tag, which can be read by a smartphone and the tag contents can then be sent to the pay TV box via RFID.

Vending machines

RFID systems are ideal for paying small amounts of money

There are now many different vending machines for chocolate, ice cream, drinks, etc., that support payment via RFID technology or using a money card. Credit can be loaded onto an NFC-compatible Smartphone or an RFID payment card/money card in advance, and the amounts are then deducted when the card is used in a vending machine.Compared to a cashless payment solution suitable for credit cards, NFC technology is much more economical for machine manufacturers and operators. The prices within vending machines can also be programmed using NFC technology – for example, service personnel can transfer new prices via an NFC-compatible smartphone while filling the vending machine.