Product Authenticity Tags
The Argonne Vulnerability Assessment Team (VAT) has counterfeited a number of product anti-counterfeiting tags. This is usually quite easy to do.
In the VAT's view:
- Existing tags aren't very good.
- Better tags are possible.
- Encryption typically has little or no meaningful role to play in determining product authenticity. It's often a red herring/smoke & mirrors.
- RFIDs do not provide any meaningful security in and of themselves (because they are easy to clone and spoof), but can be useful for improving efficiency.
- Virtual numeric tokens are a very attractive method for dealing with product counterfeiting,
though this approach is typically ignored or misunderstood. See RG Johnston, “An
Anti-Counterfeiting Strategy Using Numeric Tokens”, International Journal of Pharmaceutical Medicine 19, 163-171
Attractive attributes include:
- Inexpensive & unobtrusive
- Very difficult to counterfeit in large numbers
- Can be automatically checked by wholesalers, retailers, or volume end users (with an inexpensive reader)
- Can be checked by consumers (without a reader)
- Typically detects more than 98% of the fakes examined
- Effectiveness scales automatically with the level of concern
- Does not become easier to defeat over time, or as technology advances
- When virtual numeric tokens are used, they are often used incorrectly. We have compiled a list of 30 common mistakes. For more information, contact the VAT.
Last Modified: Thu, December 6, 2012 2:55 PM