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Opening Doors With NFC and ECC

We use doors every day to gain access to our homes, cars and offices. While lock and key mechanisms have evolved significantly, a certain lack of security persists. TrustPoint Innovation now offers a solution utilizing Near Field Communication (NFC) with Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) that eliminates the current shortcomings.

As long as we’ve had locks, we’ve also had mechanical keys. And for centuries, they’ve given us headaches.

  • They can easily be lost or stolen.
  • Skilled criminals know how to pick them.
  • They’re not always convenient to operate.

If you want to share access, you have to give a copy of the key away. Once you give it away, you can’t control where it goes.

In recent years, keyless entry systems and wireless keys have become popular. With no physical lock, they’re more convenient, but they still have limitations for sharing.

What About Security?

Wireless keys come with security concerns. In 2014, the US National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) issued warnings about vehicle thefts with keyless entry systems. In fact, some owners of Land Rover vehicles in the UK have reported being denied insurance because of this issue.

This year, The New York Times and Forbes Magazine both ran stories exposing the risks and vulnerabilities of keyless entry systems. Many police forces, including New Scotland Yard and the Toronto Police Service, have issued public warnings about the risks of keyless entry systems.

A Better Solution

With the availability of smartphones, another solution for unlocking doors is readily available.

There are solutions currently on the market that use symmetric cryptography technology and Bluetooth technology for communication. With these solutions, the smartphone and lock both share the same secret, and utilize communication technology that leaves it open to security risks.

When implemented correctly, symmetric cryptography works well when dealing with a one device to one lock situation. However, as the number of devices and locks increase the number of shared secrets grows exponentially.

With Bluetooth and its operating range of approximately three meters, there is an opportunity for thieves to execute similar attacks to those used on keyless entry systems.

TrustPoint Innovation Adds Another Layer of Security

TrustPoint Innovation has designed a solution that uses asymmetric cryptography with ECC and NFC for increased security and convenience.

With ECC, secure authentication prevents any unauthorized access to the lock. The security technology used by TrustPoint Innovation is the same standards-based technology used by financial institutions and credit card companies. The US Department of Transport (USDOT), US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have all endorsed this technology.

With an operating range of less than 5cm, using NFC on a smartphone requires very close proximity to the vehicle to unlock the doors. This virtually eliminates any risk of a keyless entry style attack.

Secure Access Sharing

This solution also enables the secure, convenient ability to share access by granting permission to friends and family using a smartphone application. By setting access restrictions based on date, time, geographic location or other criteria, control remains in the hands of the owner.

The TrustPoint Innovation solution is scalable to very large numbers of users without sacrificing security or performance.

This solution offers a number of commercial applications that can eliminate the need to share or exchange physical keys by sharing access through a smartphone application:

  • Vehicle sharing companies can provide convenient, time-limited vehicle access to their members.
  • Car & truck rental companies can remove the need to manage physical vehicle keys. Customers would be granted vehicle access limited to their rental period.
  • Commercial fleet operators, such as delivery companies and taxi companies, can provide time-limited access to employees to their assigned vehicles during their shift.

This same innovative and secure technology can be integrated into any door lock configuration. Contact us today to learn more about how TrustPoint Innovation delivers increased security and convenience utilizing NFC with ECC.

About this Blog

The TrustPoint Innovation Blog covers security industry topics relating to Certificates, Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC), Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication, Near Field Communication (NFC), Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) Communication, and more.

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