The Architecture of RFID Systems

Real-life RFID deployments employ a wide variety of physically distributed RFID readers, access gateways, management interfaces, and databases. The middleware receives events from the RFID readers when tags are scanned. These events are passed through a number of filters, which process the events in an application-specific manner. When an event has passed through all filters, it is dispatched to the components that have registered an interest in such events. Often, one of these components will store the event in a database, for further processing.

RFID readers are generally connected to the middleware using modular drivers, much like Windows uses device drivers to communicate with a graphics card. This allows different readers to be used with the middleware, without having to modify the middleware.

In addition to event-processing, the middleware handles different kinds of user interfaces. A user interfaces is generally provided for system-management purposes, for example to modify the series of filters through which an events is passed. There will also be user interfaces that allow regular users to access the system and use it. For example, in a supermarket distribution center, there will be a user interface that provides information on the current stock levels.

The middleware also communicates with other software systems, which implement the application’s business logic. To stay with the supermarket example, it is likely that the supermarket RFID system is connected to a stock management system, which orders new stock from suppliers before it runs out.


Test-Platform Architecture
To be able to test different kinds of exploits, we created a modular test platform, whose architecture is similar to that of a normal RFID middleware system. This architecture is illustrated in Figure 1.

arch.gif
We have used this platform to successfully attack multiple databases (MySQL, Postgres, Oracle, SQL Server).
The RFID reader interface connects to a Philips MIFARE/I.Code Pegoda RFID reader, with I.Code SLI HF tags. The tags are accessed using the ISO-15693 API.

The middleware connects to these databases, using the specified APIs:

MySQL MySQL C API
Oracle OCI 10.2.0
iSQL*Plus
PostgreSQL libpq API
SQL Server SQL Distributed Management Objects

The management interface uses PHP and connects to the databases using standard APIs that are supplied with PHP.

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2 Responses

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