A Lightweight Dynamic Authentication Protocol for Low-Cost Tags Using Zero-Power Timers

  • Authors:
    Mohamed H. Ibrahim (Michigan St), Jian Ren (Michigan St)
    Publication ID:
    Publication Type:
    Deliverable Report
    Received Date:
    Last Edit Date:
    2639.001 (Michigan State University)

Research Report Highlight

Authentication protocols have been developed for IoT tags which use on-chip zero power timers whose output voltages as a function of time are compared to gold standards. These protocols provide novel, low power and cost authentication for IoT chips.


Internet of Things (IoT) has envisioned rapid development in recent years. Aided by various tags as core devices in the IoT systems, a wide range of services can be offered such as tracking objects, providing or aiding classification, marking ownership, noting boundaries, and indicating identities. In IoT, participating tags can be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure. Information transmitted through such low-cost infrastructure is indeed susceptible to numerous kinds of attacks. The low-cost design opposed by the security requirements is a dilemma that needs to be addressed. In order to achieve a trustworthy system of IoT, security of tags and their transmitted data must be maintained. While the link between a reader and the server is generally assumed to be secure, the link between the reader and participating tags is mostly vulnerable to malicious acts. To avoid these acts it is essential to have a secure and efficient authentication protocol between the reader and the tag. Many authentication protocols have been proposed in literature, however, they either fall as victims to certain types of attacks or their required computations are inapplicable to the resource constrained tags. In this work we present two variants of a novel authentication protocol that overcomes the security flaws of previous protocols and meanwhile, efficiently, suits the limited resources of the tags. Our protocols specifically utilize a set of added on-chip zero power timers. Values of the timers are compared to a benchmark also called the gold standard. Using only one hash function at the tag side, these values dynamically change with time and synchronization is perfectly maintained at each authentic reading. In practice, the behavior of a tag will definitely deviate from the gold standard. Therefore, the proposed protocols give some tolerance margin that depends on the temporal and statistical characteristics of the timers fabrication. Thus, this deliverable provides a novel, efficient and dynamic method for the authentication of low-cost tags.

4819 Emperor Blvd, Suite 300 Durham, NC 27703 Voice: (919) 941-9400 Fax: (919) 941-9450

Important Information for the SRC website. This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. By continuing to use our site, you consent to our cookies. If you are not happy with the use of these cookies, please review our Cookie Policy to learn how they can be disabled. By disabling cookies, some features of the site will not work.