QR codes can be used to securely send virtual keys that are stored on smartphones to other devices.
Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology has just launched an NFC technology access control system that will allow keys to be securely shared through the use of QR codes.
The system uses near field communication technology that is sent to a registered user’s enabled device.
The keys are issued to the users by the Key2Share server. They are sent directly to the NFC technology equipped smartphone of a registered user. Once the key has been stored there, it can be kept securely, or it can be safely shared with other people who are registered with Key2Share by sending those individuals a QR code through an MMS message, an email, or even printed out and sent through the mail.
The NFC technology key program automatically generates the unique QR codes for sharing the access.
The smartphone user can use the Key2Share app to create the QR codes for sharing the keys and can implement the desired restrictions for access. For instance, the user can limit the times and dates during which the shared key can be used. Beyond the barcodes, the keys can also be shared directly between two smartphones enabled with NFC technology.
According to Alexandra Dmitrienko, a research assistant with the company, “One device can display the QR code while another scans it with its camera and processes using QR code scanning software.” She went on to explain that “Alternatively, the QR code in JPEG form is directly imported to the Key2Share app from an email or MMS message and does not require a camera or QR scanning software.”
Fraunhofer released a video to help to demonstrate the way that the NFC technology can be used and the way that the keys can be shared by way of QR codes. Dmitrienko stated that among the largest challenges that were faced in the development of this technology was the creation of a way to protect the virtual keys without actually reducing the intuitive operation of the smartphones that would be used to employ them.