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NFC security: 3 ways to avoid being hacked

Robert Lemos | June 29, 2015
Here's what to keep in mind as near-field communications (NFC), the technology that allows Apple iPhone users to tap and pay, takes off. By the end of 2015, more than a billion phones will have the capability to use the wireless protocol to exchange data, and applications beyond payments will become common.

Consumers should read up on any application's data usage policy to protect their privacy.

2. Monitor NFC updates and patch your device promptly

The NFC vulnerabilities used to compromise devices in the Pwn2Own competition have been fixed, but manufacturers are typically slow to release patches for vulnerabilities in smartphones.

They're getting better, however, leaving consumers as the primary hurdle for locking down phones.

"Consumers should be less concerned about whether or not another vulnerability will be discovered," HP's Gorenc says. "They should be concerned with how fast mobile device vendors can fix the issue and deploy the patch."

3. If you're not using NFC, turn it off

NFC is new, and many consumers have yet to adopt the technology. Unless you've started using Google Wallet or Apple Pay, turn NFC off.

"The average mobile user has asked, What does this do for me?'" TapTrack's Shalaby says. "On the consumer-facing side, most people turn their NFC off."

Aside from saving some power, turning off unused networking features is a good rule of thumb to limit exposure to attackers.


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