Dismantling MIFARE Classic

F.D. Garcia, G. Koning Gans, de, R. Muijrers, P. Rossum, van, R. Verdult, R. Wichers Schreur, B.P.F. Jacobs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


The mifare Classic is a contactless smart card that is used extensively in access control for office buildings, payment systems for public transport, and other applications. We reverse engineered the security mechanisms of this chip: the authentication protocol, the symmetric cipher, and the initialization mechanism. We describe several security vulnerabilities in these mechanisms and exploit these vulnerabilities with two attacks; both are capable of retrieving the secret key from a genuine reader. The most serious one recovers the secret key from just one or two authentication attempts with a genuine reader in less than a second on ordinary hardware and without any pre-computation. Using the same methods, an attacker can also eavesdrop the communication between a tag and a reader, and decrypt the whole trace, even if it involves multiple authentications. This enables an attacker to clone a card or to restore a real card to a previous state.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationComputer Security - ESORICS 2008 (13th European Symposium on Research in Computer Security, Malaga, Spain, October 6-8, 2008, Proceedings)
EditorsS. Jajodia, J. Lopez
Place of PublicationBerlin
ISBN (Print)978-3-540-88312-8
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743


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