Understanding MIFARE DESFire EV1 and EV2: Features, Advantages, and Upgrade Considerations

Understanding MIFARE DESFire EV1 and EV2

The introduction of MIFARE DESFire EV1 pioneered the use of AES data encryption. This type of encryption offered enhanced security features that became widely distributed.  However, the release of EV2 in 2013 occurred, just as EV1 was gaining recognition.

The problem arose when the production of these smart cards lagged behind. Some businesses that had recently adopted EV1 saw the upgrade as an impractical choice.

When it comes to technology, staying current is often the smart choice. However, making the decision requires careful consideration. Let’s delve deeper into this article to learn the specifics of EV1 and EV2.


MIFARE DESFire EV1 (2006)



MIFARE DESFire EV1 features on-chip backup management, complemented by a three-pass authentication. This chip excels in enciphering data transmission and provides a reliable and secure IC. Notably, this card can hold up to 28 applications and 32 files per application.

These chips facilitate communication through an NFC or RFID transceiver module. They operate at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. With the incorporation of Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), the authentication process provides superior security.




MIFARE DESFire EV1 smartcards excel in a variety of applications. They are ideal for public transportation systems, access management, and close-loop e-payments.  With its security features, it can further enhance user experience and operational effectiveness.



Compatible with Existing Systems

MIFARE DESFire EV1 is already an established system. Though initially released in 2006, it gained widespread distribution in 2010. Consequently, institutions and enterprises invested in EV1, fully integrating them into their systems.

With the release of a later version, some businesses chose to stick with EV1, preserving their system. This was the practical choice in the initial years following the launch of EV2.

Lower Costs

When it comes to costs, EV1 was the affordable option compared to its later version. Despite the cost-effectiveness, this chip did not compromise its performance. It remains an attractive economical choice.





Limited Memory Capacity

One notable limitation of EV1 is its limited memory capacity. This chip can only support at most 28 simultaneous applications which can be restrictive to some organizations. Higher versions of this technology offer more expansive memory with no limits.

Security vulnerabilities


Despite EV1’s encrypted security feature, it remains susceptible to security attacks. This type of card is most vulnerable to relay attacks. Relay attacks extend the distance between the smart cards and readers, enabling security breaches. This allows unauthorized access.

Limited Support for Advanced Application

MIFARE DESFire EV1 is not compatible with advanced applications like the PIV read application.


MIFARE DESFire EV2 (2013)



MIFARE DESFire EV2 offers a significant advancement in security and functionality. Its key features include the implementation of enhanced security and a separate encryption key. With its cryptographic security, information stored on the cards is well protected.

EV2 also has limitless memory capacity making it well suited to store data. An extended reading range is also added, enhancing convenience and efficiency.

One of its key innovations is the introduction of rolling keysets. A compromised card can trigger the replacement of encryption keys across the system. This response increases the system’s resilience against attackers and hackers.

Moreover, EV2 exhibits backward compatibility with MIFARE DESFire EV1. This means that EV2 cards can be read by the old system. It ensures a smooth transition for organizations that want an upgrade.



Increased Memory

One of the advantages of EV2 is its ability to hold as many applications as it can accommodate. Additionally, It can hold these data for as long as 10 years. This capacity makes it attractive for organizations that look for data storage longevity.

Enhanced Security

EV2 has an increased security level. It adheres to the global standards for interfaces and cryptographic methods. Its compliance ensures that it is equipped with the most rigorous protocols.


It also has an enhancement of having three-pass authentication and secure messaging on AES. This authentication ensures that only authorized access can go through the readers.

Supports Advanced Application

With an updated version, EV2 can support newer and more advanced applications. This ensures that organizations can stay at the forefront of technological advancements.





Cost of Upgrading

It’s important to consider costs if you’re upgrading from an EV1 to an EV2. The cost factor in upgrading is replacing EV1 cards with EV2 cards. This also entails the cost of reprogramming of these cards.

Key Differences Between EV1 and EV2

The differences between MIFARE DESFire EV1 and EV 2 are summarized in this table:

Number of Applications 28 No Limit
Number of files per application 32 32
Communications Buffer 64 bytes Up to 128 bytes
Rolling Keysets No Yes
MIsmartApp No Yes
Shared Application No Yes
Proximity Check No Yes
Originality Check No Yes
Evaluation Assurance Level EAL4+ EAL5+
Data Retention Up to 10 years Up to 25 years
AES Encryption 128-bit encryption 128-bit encryption
Backward Compatibility No Yes

These differences highlight the improvement that EV2 brings to the table.

Why Should You Upgrade to EV2?


Improved Security and Data Protection

EV2 offers higher quality service, privacy, and performance, and enhances the overall user experience. It carries an EAL5+ security that is more secure compared to EV1. This product also supports proximity control to prevent potential security attacks.

MIFARE DESFire EV2 Chips are More Affordable

MIFARE DESFire’s EV2 chips are becoming more in demand. The increase in chip production lowers current prices compared to EV1. Thankfully, these chips also have backward compatibility so old systems can still be used.


New technology often brings improvement in efficiency. That’s why it’s important to take advantage of advanced techs. In the context of smart cards, choosing a higher-chip version is a wise investment. The added cost translates into heightened security and increased productivity.

Between MIFARE DESFire EV1 and EV2, the advanced version is the most cost-efficient. Its enhanced features and adaptability make it easier to integrate newer technology.

Expand your smart card’s potential when you invest in MIFARE DESFire EV2 today.



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