The new NTAG 413 DNA chip adds cryptographic authentication using what NXP are calling ‘Secure Unique NFC’ or SUN. This generates a secure one-time authentication code each time the NFC tag is tapped.
This is an important feature. Most secure NFC operations at this point required the mobile phone to have a pre-installed App for authentication. The App, typically on an Android phone, would access either a password protected, encrypted area or a secure area of the chip and use this information to confirm that the tag was indeed what it claimed to be.
By using a unique generated code each time the tag is tapped the NFC chip can include this dynamically into a URL (web address) on the tag. Therefore, the NFC authentication can happen over a standard web connection removing the requirement for a pre-installed App. Perhaps the easiest way to understand this process is that it’s similar to one of those bank key cards that generate a new number each time you log in.
To an extent, this isn’t new – chip manufacturer HID have had their Trusted Tag NFC product for some time. However, NXP appear to have built the framework for this around their popular, high performance and easy to use NTAG product. This is likely to allow faster market penetration and easier access to the inlay tags themselves.