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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a non-contact automatic identification technology, and has many applications, such as in logistics, transportation, retail, etc. The wireless communication channel of the RFID systems is vulnerable to various malicious attacks, and RFID tag has limited calculation resources and small storage capacity, aimed at these problems, a HMAC-based RFID lightweight authentication protocol is proposed in this paper. The main advantages of the new protocol are in which only the Hash function and XOR operation are used so that the calculation capacity and storage space of reader are utilized efficiently, and the demand for the capacity of calculation and storage of tag are reduced. The analysis of security and performance show that the new protocol can resist some malicious attacks, such as spoofing attack, replay attack, tracking, etc., and is suitable for low-cost RFID system.