Considering the high-level security review of the forthcoming Amarnath Yatra, the government has decided to track all pilgrims using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.
What are RFID tags?
RFID tags are Radio Frequency Identifications. These are wireless tracking systems that consist of readers and tags, which use radio waves to communicate information and identity of people or objects that can be hand-held or built into fixed positions like buildings or poles that can carry short descriptions, encrypted information and serial numbers.
How do the RFID tags work?
The RFID tags use an antenna and an integrated circuit to communicate with readers using radio waves at several different frequencies, which include ultra-high frequency (UHF), high frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF). Messages are sent back by the tag in the form of radio waves that are then translated into data and are analysed by the host computer system.
Are RFID tags hackable?
Grades of encryption can be introduced between the tag, depending on the data to be shared, for the reader to verify credentials. Although casual data theft is not possible, but hackers can use ‘side-channel attacks’ for extracting cryptographic information, but the hack is not easy to pull off as the tag manufacturers continue to improve security features.
Why are RFIDs being used in Amarnath Yatra?
Amid the high-security threat to the pilgrimage, the decision to track all Amarnath Yatris using RFID tags was taken and announced after a high-level meeting was chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to review security preparedness for the Yatra.