SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices The Degree Certificate awarded by a University is an asset of prime importance in an individu...
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SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

The Degree Certificate awarded by a University is an asset of prime importance in an individual’s life. Circulation of fake degree certificates is a menace to the society, and a threat to the integrity of both the certificate holder and the educational institution that has awarded the certificate. Hence, there is a pressing need for universities to adopt a process that can ensure security of information and authenticity of the certificate issued. Tata Consultancy Services Limited’s (TCS) SmartDEGREE, a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) based solution, enables universities to curb the problem of fake degree certificates and forgery of mark sheets. Using SmartDEGREE, a university can award certificates with an embedded RFID tag that is encoded with the holder’s name, date of graduation, type of degree and entire transcript, photograph and biometrics (fingerprints), all digitally signed by the university authorities. SmartDEGREE also enables potential employers, foreign embassies, other universities and other stakeholders to read the data embedded in the RFID tag using an interrogator, and to verify the identity of the certificate holder and authenticity of the certificate.

SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

About the Author Chandrashekar Mudraganam Consultant, Smart Card Group, TCS Innovation Labs Hyderabad Chandrashekar has an experience of over 18 years in the IT industry with over 7 years focused on AutoID Technologies (Smart Cards, Biometrics, RFID & Security Systems). His expertise covers all areas of business operations including heading Strategic Business Units/Projects, Project and Organizational Management, Business Development and Marketing. He has written several articles on AutoID Technologies that have been published in leading newspapers and journals. He also regularly writes on current affairs. He is currently a Consultant with the Smart Card Group at TCS Innovation Labs, Hyderabad, India. Chandrashekar has done his Master of Science in Computer Engineering from Wayne State University, USA and Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics & Communication from Osmania University, India.

SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

Table of Contents 1. Introduction

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2. About RFID

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3. Smart DEGREE from TCS

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4. Conclusion

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SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

Introduction Universities across the world face ever increasing challenges in discharging their role as providers and enablers of higher education. One of the serious challenges faced by them is the circulation of fake or duplicate degree certificates. Besides, factors such as very high student strength and overworked staff make physical issuance and verification of degree certificates cumbersome and time consuming. Higher education services are now sought by larger segments of the global population, and students, employers and other stakeholders expect that the menace of fake or duplicate degree certificates is eradicated. TCS recognized that digitization of the certificate issuing process, and securing the certificate holder’s information were the two key aspects that would enable universities to curb the problem. TCS also recognized that the main challenge lay in developing a system that would technology-enable the existing process; would address the existing lacunae; while retaining, if not reinforcing, the end objectives of the process. To enable universities to address this menace, TCS developed SmartDEGREE, a system based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). Combined with the fingerprint authentication and digital encryption technology, SmartDEGREE brings in greater reliability, robustness and security in the existing process of degree certificates issue to university students. TCS has successfully implemented SmartDEGREE at the University of Hyderabad, India, where RFID based degree certificates are being issued since 2007.

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SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

About RFID Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) uses radio frequency waves to transfer data between a reader and a moveable item which is tagged, to identify, categorize and track the item. It is fast, reliable, and does not require contact between reader/scanner and the tagged item. RFID provides a wireless, over-the-air interface. Unlike bar codes, line-of-sight communication is not necessary. RFID uses an integrated microchip and antenna that reads information. The combination of the chip and antenna is called an RFID transponder, tag or inlet. When the RFID transponder is placed in the field of an RFID reader, information is transmitted to the reader and processed by a computer. Tag

RF Module

Reader Antenna

Host PC Figure 1: RFID System

Originally adopted during World War II to identify `friendly' aircraft, RFID has proliferated into other application areas such as toll payment, supply chain management, cashless payment, ticketing, brand authentication, security access, patron identification and amusement parks. Today, RFID is used, or is proposed to be used, in virtually every sector of human activity - from tracking animals, tagging new born babies with their mothers, controlling access, managing inventory and assets, and many more. The return on investment (ROI) with RFID is a well established fact that has been validated in various scenarios. RFID offers the following benefits: l Identification without visual contact l Read/write capability l Cluster reading l Secure communication l Withstanding harsh industrial environment l Reliability and speed l Reusability l Data storage at point-of-origin

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SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

Smart DEGREE from TCS SmartDEGREE enables universities and other educational institutions to award degree certificates with an embedded passive 13.56 MHz RFID tag, complying with the ISO 14443A standard. Each tag has 4-8 kilobytes of memory and is encoded with the certificate holder’s name, date of graduation, type of degree and entire transcript, photograph and the biometrics (fingerprints), all digitally signed by the university authorities. The RFID-tagged certificate is an authentic representation of the student’s educational qualification and credibility, certified by the university. The entire system can be summarized in 3 simple steps, Enrolment, Personalization and Verification: l Enrolment of students (including collection of fingerprints) is done at all the affiliated colleges of the university

where students seek admission. is done at the university where the authorities electronically personalize the degree certificates in a secure environment and digitally sign using a digital certificate issued to the university. l Verification is done by 3rd parties, such as future employers, universities where the students seek admission for higher education or embassies/consulates of foreign countries, etc. l Personalization

The following figure illustrates the process of Enrolment, Personalization and Verification.

Camera College

Enrolment Student Enrolment Fingerprint capture Student Verification

Signature Pad Fingerprint Scanner

RFID Reader / Writer

2

Personalization Certificate Initialization Digital Signing Certificate Personalization Certificate Verification

University University Degree with RFID Tag

Foreign Consulate

1

RFID Reader / Writer

University

Fingerprint Scanner

Government Private Organization

University Degree with RFID Tag

3

Verification Certificate Reading Certificate Verification

Figure 2: Illustration of Enrolment, Personalization and Verification

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SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

The system incorporates the following: l A passive HF RFID chip is embedded between two sheets of the degree certificate and the human readable data

content is printed on the surface. The certificate has the capability of storing the fingerprints of the student along with other information. l RFID readers/writers for reading or writing from RFID chips affixed inside degree certificates. l Biometric (fingerprint) enrolment application together with the required hardware is installed at the affiliated colleges of the university to enroll students. This application captures the fingerprints (preferably 2 per student) along with demographic information of the student, and verifies through 1:1 matching. l Personalization application is used for: - viewing student records - digitally signing the students record (personal information, marks obtained and fingerprints) - electronically personalizing the RFID chip with the digitally signed student information (encrypted data), using a suitable RFID reader/writer - reading/verifying the contents of the personalized RFID chip and providing enquiry facilities regarding the status of the degree certificate. This application also enables other functions like, certificate cancellation, certificate reissuance, data verification of degree certificates at the universities before and after issuance to students and generating reports. l Verification

application enables third parties such as future employers, universities where the students seek admission for higher education or embassies/consulates of foreign countries, etc to verify the contents of the degree certificate. The contents are read with an RFID reader using the Public Key of the university digital certificate to decrypt the chip contents and produce the student data in a readable form. The application also provides fingerprint verification for 1:1 match between the student fingerprint template stored inside the chip and the live fingerprint captured.

Upon accepting a job, a graduate can present the RFID tagged degree certificate to an employer. The employer can log onto a TCS Web site which is indicated on the back of the certificate, download the TCS software necessary to read the encrypted data on the certificate chip, and utilize an RFID reader to read the tag and download its data. This information can then be used to verify the identity of the new employee.

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SmartDEGREE from TCS to combat Certificate Malpractices

Conclusion Combined with the latest advances in fingerprint authentication and digital encryption technologies, SmartDEGREE brings in greater reliability, robustness and security in the existing system of degree certificate issuance. SmartDEGREE provides many benefits to all stakeholders such as students, universities, potential employers and other organisations: l Enables embedding of authentic information in the degree certificates to curb duplication and fake

circulation l Provides greater security and thereby enhances the reliability of the university education system l Provides reliable and easy access to information when needed

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About Smart Card Group, TCS Innovation Labs - Hyderabad, India

About Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, business solutions and

TCS has to its credit several disruptive innovations. It set up its first

outsourcing organization that delivers real results to global

research lab in 1981 when the IT industry in India was just taking

businesses, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS

shape. It set-up a software tool foundry which has over the years

offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT and IT-enabled

produced generations of tools for model driven development,

services delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery

testing, artificial intelligence and re-engineering, to name a few.

ModelTM, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software

Today, the global network of TCS Innovation Labs work across

development.

domains and new technologies to deliver a range of solution frameworks. In the true spirit of collaboration, TCS has created a Co-

A part of the Tata Group, India’s largest industrial conglomerate,

Innovation Network (TCS COIN™). This connects to several entities in

TCS has over 143,000 of the world's best trained IT consultants in

the innovation ecosystem and TCS co-innovates with them,

42 countries. The company generated consolidated revenues of

capitalizing on the strengths of each to the benefit of all. Leveraging

US $6 billion for fiscal year ended 31 March 2009 and is listed on

its tool strength, business innovation experience and its co-

the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India.

innovation capabilities, TCS is well equipped to play a major role in AutoID Technologies. The Smart Card Group at TCS Innovation Labs -

For more information, visit us at www.tcs.com

Hyderabad, provides end-to-end services in consulting, To know more about TCS’ SmartDEGREE and other such innovative solutions from the Smart Card Group at TCS Innovation Lab, Hyderabad, India, contact [email protected]

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