Will NFC Make Electronic Pickpocketing Even Easier?

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I recently saw a news broadcast video from Channel 3 in Memphis Tennessee demonstrating how easy it is for a hacker to simply walk around a crowded area and pick up credit card numbers or passport information from random people who happen to have credit cards with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips in them. Apparently, with a $100 credit card reader and a $200 netbook PC, an RFID can be hacked just by getting close to a person’s wallet.

Google has already implemented an NFC (Near Field Communications) chip inside their Nexus S phone and they intend to use it to make paying for products in the real world easier. For example, you may only have to hold your phone near a scanner in order to pay for groceries. It works in a similar way to the RFID chips already found in Credit cards, but Google intends to make the software for communicating with their NFC enabled Android phones fully open source.

If NFC catches on, and if the software used to read NFC tags is open source, will that mean anybody with an NFC reader and some programming skills will be able to wirelessly take your money? Or do you think NFC payment built into a phone will be more secure than the RFID style credit cards, since your phone software may be capable of requiring further payment authentication or even biometric authentication?

Picture: WREG: Electronic Pickpocketing

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About The Author
Adam Z. Lein
Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!