Tag: nfc technology study

NFC technology security tested in shopping cart study

A hidden antenna was used by researchers to test the ease of sensitive customer data theft.

A paper was recently published, entitled “Eavesdropping near field contactless payments: a quantitative analysis”, which detailed a study in which researchers examined mobile safety attacks through NFC technology security meant for contactless payments transactions.

The researchers made an antenna that they hid on shopping carts using low cost electronics.

Their explanation for this effort was to test NFC technology security with a near field communication inductive loop antenna, which was employed for mimicking an ISO 14443 transmission. Then, in order to be able to actually “eavesdrop”, there was a second, identical inductive loop antenna that was installed onto a shopping cart, which they modified in order to transmit in a way that was like an antenna.

Even though NFC technology security has been touted as safe, researchers found the opposite.

NFC Technology SecurityThe researchers in this study found that although near field communication based contactless payments are becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom and Europe, and that consumers are trusting this tech as safe, these transactions are actually more vulnerable than had previously been thought.

The belief that there could be problems is not new as some had already been pointing out certain vulnerabilities – three, in fact – as early as 2008. Since that time, hacking into near field communications transmissions for payments and directly relaying, skimming, or eavesdropping on sensitive data transmissions from customers has been in the spotlight.

Until now, services had not known how to make this tech both simple and reliable. This is how these transactions are now often viewed. However, these researchers, who are from the University of Surrey, have now looked further into the safety of the tech through the use of cheap and easily accessible electronics from stores. They were able to measure the distance, success rates, and a number of other factors.

What they showed, was that NFC technology security isn’t as high as some might think. They determined that if an attacker with the same equipment was to head out and “shop” for a consumer’s payments data, it would not be difficult for a cyber attack to occur through the use of these electronics, while pointing a shopping cart at the victim as he or she pays for the purchase.

NFC technology determined not to have value by Tesco

Tesco - NFC Technology

The contactless tech took a big hit when the global retail giant declared it not to be worthwhile.

Tesco, a supermarket giant, has been making some heads spin with its latest announcement that it feels that NFC technology doesn’t have any real value, when speaking at a recent conference.

Many in the industry felt that near field communication is the next up and coming thing.

That said, they may be thinking twice about NFC technology now that the Tesco, a company based in the United Kingdom, gave such a poor assessment of it. The mobile payments industry had been under the impression that this could be the technology that would be used in order to accelerate the drive toward a cashless society.

NFC technology allows information – such as payment transactions – to be exchanged between two devices.

It works by holding the two devices close to one another, or tapping them together. The use of NFC technology also includes a security chip to make sure that data remains encrypted and cannot be read by the wrong recipient. It has been promising to become the best way to offer a range of different mobile wallet services, such as for payments, ticketing, and other similar purposes.

Many industry giants have been banking on NFC technology, including Google Wallet and Isis. However, Tesco says that this isn’t quite what it has been chocked up to be. In fact, it was suggested that it has actually come and gone, and that it won’t be progressing beyond what it has already achieved.

The company has no plans to implement the near field communications and feels that any attempt to try to use NFC technology would simply complicate things. They cannot see that it will take off in any realistic way.

In its statement at the conference, it drew attention to the fact that contactless credit cards already exist, so using mobile NFC technology based payments would not be adding any level of value. Moreover, it suggested that it would not provide any beneficial consumer experience and would simply add complexity to the checkout process. This is in direct opposition to much of the mobile payments industry that is continuing to drive forward with this tech.