What is a MIFARE Card?

MIFARE technologies comply with ISO/IEC 14443, a four-part international standard for contactless Smart Cards operating at 13.56 MHz in close proximity with a reader antenna. Just like other Proximity Integrated Circuit Cards (PICC), MIFARE Cards operate within approximately 5 of the reader antenna.

Working Mechanism of MIFARE Cards

MIFARE have typically two parts, an antenna for sending and receiving information (in form of signals) and an integrated circuit (IC) that processes and stores information. The IC contains a memory that is divided into segments and blocks with security mechanisms for access control. A user is required to show the MIFARE tag near the MIFARE reader, a distance not longer than 10 cm. A connection is established between the card and the reader, then the card sends a code that identifies the type of card selected. The communication between the card and the reader is highly secured through encryption.

How secure are Mifare cards?

– Mifare cards employ 3 pass security that thwarts relay attacks

– Access to data in each sector is protected with a 48-bit key

– Transmission between Mifare chip and the reader is encrypted

– The card is not affected by harsh environmental factors such as dust

mifare card

MIFARE Card Types

NXP MIFARE Classic EV1 1k: Replacement to the original NXP MIFARE Classic 1k, the newer EV1 version is completely backwards compatible with all MIFARE Classic 1k systems and contains a digital signature to ensure the chip is a genuine NXP product. For new projects NXP recommends to use DESFire Light instead of Classic EV1 1K with equivalent 1 kB memory.

NXP MIFARE Classic EV1 4k: Replacement to the original NXP MIFARE Classic 4k, the newer EV1 version is completely backwards compatible with all MIFARE Classic 4k systems and contains a digital signature to ensure the chip is a genuine NXP product.

NXP MIFARE Ultralight: MIFARE chip with 64byte EEPROM, 32bit user definable OTP area and 7-byte UID. Used in disposable transport tickets, event ticketing, and loyalty applications.

NXP MIFARE Ultralight EV1: Replacement to the original NXP MIFARE Ultralight, the newer EV1 version is completely backwards compatible with all MIFARE Ultralight systems and contains a digital signature to ensure the chip is a genuine NXP product. Thus, provides and additional security options such as anti-clonning for integrators to prevent counterfeit.

NXP MIFARE Ultralight C: MIFARE chip with 192byte EEPROM, 32bit user definable OTP area and 7-byte UID. UL-C is more secure than standard Ultralight as it has 3DES authentication which can be used to secure sections of user memory from write or read/write with a 128bit key. Used in disposable transport tickets, event ticketing, loyalty and prepaid applications.

NXP MIFARE Mini: MIFARE chip with 320byte EEPROM and 4-byte / 7-byte UID options. Used in applications where quick transaction time is more important than large memory size such as public transport, event ticketing, and gaming/loyalty.

MIFARE Plus EV2: As the next member of NXP’s MIFARE Plus product family, the MIFARE Plus® EV2 IC is created to be both a gateway for new Smart City applications and a compelling upgrade, in terms of security and connectivity, for existing projects.  Incrased security by using transaction timer to configure a maximum time of transaction can take to avoid interference by an attacker. 

Limit fraud by using the originality check.

MIFARE Plus SE: The MIFARE Plus® SE contactless IC is the entry-level version arised from the Common Criteria Certified MIFARE Plus product tree. Being delivered at a comparable price range to the existing MIFARE Classic with 1K capacity, it ensures all NXP users with a perfect upgrade way to benchmark security within current budgt.

NXP MIFARE DESFire EV3 4k: DESFire EV3 chip with 4096byte EEPROM and flexible file system, including automatic backup mechanism and optional Random ID. Contactless interface compliant with ISO/IEC 14443-2/3 A.

MIFARE DESFire EV3 can be used as a MIFARE DESFire EV2 or a MIFARE DESFire EV1 in its default delivery configuration. Every new feature would require an activation and/or the use of new commands which is described in their respective sections in this document.

Advantages of Mifare Cards

High Speed Transactions – the read range of up to 10 cm increases the convenience of touch-and- go experience for users

Increased Security – Secure encryption during transmission and storage of information prevents unauthorized access to information stored on the card. This makes it really difficult to copy a Mifare card. Mifare cards are capable of handling up to 15 applications. The user therefore does not need multiple cards for multiple purposes, one card can effectively handle all his applications.

Increased Efficiency and Reduced Cost – Increased throughput by decreasing check-out times, reducing costs of cash handling and processing.

Multi Interface – Mifare cards have support for both non contactless and contact interface, giving the user the ultimate convenience of duo interface.

Improved Customer Experience – Simplifying the purchases, enhancing customer convenience

Application Areas of Mifare Cards

Event Ticketing – Widely used in ticketing events, giving access entrance to stadiums, exhibitions and leisure parks. For instance, Mifare Ultralight cards have been used in events such as football worldcup.

Public Transport– The transport sector has really been revolutionized by Mifare cards. Due to their multi-application feature, tourists can conveniently purchase tickets to different destinations or access public transport services.

Loyalty – Card,users can earn points and discounts with continued use of these cards for payment purposes. Loyalty points can then be accumulated and stored in the card for offline earning and spending.

Access Card – Mifare cards may feature secure employee badges for convenient and secure access to workplace. Store passwords in the card, giving the user guaranteed authorized access to consumer and corporate data. Logical access is also possible, giving the user secure access to computer networks, data files and software.

Gaming – NFC compatibility with NFC enabled devices enables the card holder to seamlessly integrate and exchange information such as gaming data between the card and the device. Gaming scores, credits and characters are thus securely stored in the card.

Due to their reduced transaction time, minimal chances of fraud and increased security, Mifare cards have become more important in transit programs, and have rapidly gained favor with more financial payment agencies and associations across the globe.

PrintPlast has 32 years of experience of Smart Card production. Get in touch with us for our custom solutions.

*MIFARE and MIFARE Classic are trademarks of NXP B.V.