Authenticate via NFC Technology To Prevent Product Tampering

27 Jul, 2022
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Authenticate via NFC Technology To Prevent Product Tampering

Thanks to today’s industry regulations, product tampering – or the deliberate modification of goods – and associated disease outbreaks are rare, especially in regions like the US and Europe. However, as the supply chain becomes increasingly complex and far-reaching, the risk of product tampering in sectors like the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), medicinals, and cosmetic industries is growing.

In turn, for manufacturers within these industries, it has become paramount to introduce systems that allow for product authentication, tracking, and tracing across the supply chain and prevent public health issues such as the Tylenol killings that plague the US in 1982.

Thankfully, emerging technologies such as NFC tags, NFC enabled devices and blockchain are helping manufacturers and consumers ensure the safety and authenticity of each unit.

In this guide by the NFC authentication experts at Authena, you’ll find all you need to know about securing your products through Near Field Communication technologies.

How Do NFC Authentication Tags Work?

Near-Field Communication (NFC) is a technology still in infancy that is already disrupting several markets, most notably the one of contactless payments. NFC enabled devices such as NFC tags and labels are a form of wireless communication technology that works similarly to RFID (radio frequency identification).

They use a two-part system that allows for the safe and efficient exchange of encrypted information between an NFC-engraved smart label and an NFC-enabled device.

Some key information about the NFC communication protocol includes:

  • The NFC technology allows for secure information exchange between two devices within a short distance of 4cm or 11⁄2in.
  • NFC systems, paired with the right software ecosystem, are highly resistant to cloning and nearly impossible to forge
  • NFC tags can become unusable after a product altering attempt that compromises the label or the closure they are applied on

When used as a product authentication tool, NFC tag and labels allow both manufacturers and end-users (consumers) to track and trace each product across the entire supply chain while also receiving real-time data about the item’s status. Advanced NFC authentication systems such as Authena Shield™ use NFC tags to prevent counterfeiting, avoid product tampering, and increase customer satisfaction.

What Is Near Field Communication Technology Used For?

While NFC technology is still emerging, new uses for NFC tags are found every day. Today, NFC tags are primarily used to make secure monetary transactions, and NFC protocols support contactless payments through enabled devices like Apple Watches.

However, thanks to NFC tag efficiency and high-security levels, they are now finding employment in a wide range of industries and sectors.

For example, NFC-embedded labels are expected to be the future of smart packaging, especially in growing industries where product safety and authenticity are paramount, such as the Cannabis market.

How Does NFC Encryption Work?

NFC labels not only allow for the exchange of information within close range, but they also encrypt the data delivered, thus adding an extra level of security. According to IJERT studies, NFC encryption happens through a highly secure combination of the AES and RSA cryptography systems. What’s more, the NFC encryption system is designed to avoid decrypting malicious data, thus protecting the receiving device.

Security of NFC Authentication Tags

While NFC technology is built on the principles behind RFID labels, Near Field Communication tags are considered to be the successor of RFID technologies thanks to the unprecedented level of security these tags offer.

Near Field Communication devices, including NFC tags, offer a highly secure digital NFC authentication system in which each item is engraved with its own unique ID number. This distinctive DNA makes it easy for manufacturers to track and trace each product and verify that each transaction is genuine.

Why Is NFC Secure?

When choosing to integrate Authena’s NFC Security Seals & Labels into your product authentication and anti-tampering strategy, you’ll be able to count on high levels of security. But why is NFC secure?

Why Is NFC Secure

Here are some of the security features that make NFC tags so efficient for product tracking and tracing:

  • With the wireless technology limiting communication within a short range, NFC technology reduces the likelihood for attackers to steal or compromise information
  • The information transfer is immediate, reducing the chances of eavesdropping
  • The information delivered is encrypted through a combination of a cryptography system
  • The protocol is instructed to not open any malicious file

While Near Field Communication Technology technologies offer manufacturers and consumers a level of security rarely experienced before, it is important to take further steps to prevent hacking or eavesdropping. These include:

  • Using tailored NFC-enabled applications that maintain your data privacy
  • Maintain your NFC devices and systems up to date
  • Turning off NFC systems if not in use

NFC Authentication Using Blockchain

NFC technology is at its most efficient when paired with underlying blockchain technologies. When product labels are scanned via NFC on a mobile application, the blockchain will update to carry an immutable record of that transaction.

When using a blockchain-based traceability solution by Authena, your physical products carrying a smart label (i.e.: bearing a RFID or NFC tag) can be tracked across the supply chain and beyond.

Using NFC Authentication Tags With Authena Technology

Authena’s NFC authentication tags such as NFC labels can help manufacturers gain better control over their supply chain and deliver unprecedented levels of transparency to their audience. Some of the benefits of a tailored NFC authentication system include:

  • Protecting the brand and its reputation
  • Avoiding public health safety threats
  • Boosting shipment security
  • Documenting each item’s origin and journey through the supply chain
  • Fighting counterfeits, fake goods, and tampered units
  • Increasing customer engagement, loyalty, and trust
  • Gaining insights and data about your products and how they are used

Using NFC Authentication Tags

Software Integrated With NFC Technology

While your brand might not have needed NFC authentication software so far, the supply chain is becoming more complex by the minute, which makes it essential for manufacturers to gain better visibility of the product’s journey from suppliers to end-users.

That is where a tailored, end-to-end authentication software integrated with Near Field Communication Technology can help. NFC authentication software is designed around your brand’s unique needs and they come with an easy-to-use interface that reduces training problems among your staff while making information immediately accessible to suppliers and consumers.

NFC Enabled Devices

NFC-enabled devices are the smartphones, tablets, and other devices that support the NFC wireless communication system. Here’s what you need to know:

How Do I Enable My NFC on My Phone?

While older electronic devices might not boost Near Field Communication capabilities, modern smartphones – as well as tablets and wearables – are NFC-enabled devices. If your device boasts NFC capabilities, you’ll be able to switch on this communication tool by heading over to the phone settings. It can be usually found under “connections” or “NFC and contactless payments”.

Ad hoc applications such as the Authena app will use your phone’s Near Field Communication to deliver accurate information when your phone is paired with a product’s smart label.

Can You Be Hacked Through NFC?

NFC labels are one of the most secure communication technologies, and they are incredibly difficult to hack. What’s more security NFC devices, such as NFC labels, protect the receiving device in more than one way by stopping malicious files and preventing the NFC from accessing any other data that doesn’t require sharing.

Find a Tailored Product Authentication Solution at Authena

While a NFC tag is an essential part of most product authentication systems, no two brands are exactly the same. That is why partnering with NFC authentication experts such as Authena can help you find a solution tailored to your unique needs.

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