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Radio frequency identification (RFID) technique has been applied in high-security and high-integrity settings such as national defense, healthcare, and citizen identification. A tiny RFID tag is attached to a mobile object, which can be scanned and recognized by a reader. RFID offers opportunities for real-time item identification and inventory tracking. For applications using resource-restricted RFID tags and mobile hand-held readers, however, various risks could threaten their abilities to provide essential services to users. High mobility of the RFID system components and the open nature make an RFID system vulnerable to various attacks. Currently, although some techniques exist that might help improve survivability; there is still no complete proposal on survivability of an RFID system despite its growing popularity and importance in many applications. In this paper, we study survivability issues related to RFID systems and survey existing techniques whose usability and adaptability toward survivability would be beneficial. Survivability is defined as the ability of a system to continuously provide essential services to support the system's mission even in the presence of malicious attacks or system failures. We discuss the issues and challenges in developing survivable RFID systems and propose research directions.