## The Doghouse: SecureRF

Claims to offer the first feasible security for RFIDs. Conventional public key cryptography (such as RSA) is far too computationally intensive for an RFID. SecureRF provides a similar technology at far lower footprint by harnessing a relatively obscure area of mathematics: infinite group theory, which comes (of all places) from knot theory, a branch of topology.

Their website claims to have “white papers” on the theory, but you have to give them your personal information to get it. Of course, they reference no actual published cryptography papers. “New mathematics” is my Snake-Oil Warning Sign #2 — and I strongly suspect their documentation displays several other of the warning signs, too. I’d stay away from this one.

Chuck • October 9, 2006 8:33 AM

You might be a little harsh on these guys. They don’t have white papers on their site. But, they list their principals’ names. A search on the USPTO web site reveals that they are the inventors of US patent 6,493,449.

See http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=goldfeld.INNM.&OS=IN/goldfeld&RS=IN/goldfeld

They may be selling snake oil but, on a quick read, this patent doesn’t smell like snake oil.

Here’s the web page for one of the founders.

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~goldfeld/

Columbia is a respected university—even if it tends to have a weak (even for the ivy league) football team.

Here’s a web page on their “new” math and crypto.

http://www.adastral.ucl.ac.uk/~helger/crypto/link/public/braid/

Chuck J.