Mifare Card 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.
Mifares 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 Types
NXP MIFARE Classic 1k: Original MIFARE chip with 1024byte EEPROM and 4-byte / 7-byte UID options. Used in simple ticketing,
loyalty, education and access control applications.
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.
NXP MIFARE Classic 4k: Original MIFARE chip with 4096byte EEPROM and 4-byte / 7-byte UID options. Used in simple ticketing, loyalty, education and access control applications.
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.
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 S: stands for “Slim” and is the lightweight version of Plus. It is meant to provide a low-cost and straightforward migration from MIFARE Classic and does not support Security Level 2 or “Proximity Check” with only partial support for the “Virtual Card” scheme.
MIFARE Plus X: stands for “eXpert” and is the full feature version, offering the entire suite of Plus security upgrades and providing more flexibility to optimize the command flow for speed and confidentiality.
NXP MIFARE DESFire EV1 4k: DESFire EV1 chip with 4096byte EEPROM and flexible file system, including automatic backup mechanism and optional Random ID.
NXP MIFARE DESFire EV1 8k: DESFire EV1 chip with 8192byte EEPROM and flexible file system, including automatic backup mechanism and optional Random ID.
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.
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*MIFARE and MIFARE Classic are trademarks of NXP B.V.