Security, Privacy and Safety with NFC

NFC is the leading underground tech set to takeover the marketing scene. Customers can access product information, offers and more from the tap of a phone, and despite being a technology expecting to expand and grow over billions of devices in the next few years, goTap is one of a small few companies globally and across the UK to be able to offer NFC marketing and NFC programmed tags and products.

With the rise of NFC products occuring at a time when we are all wary of data harvesting and new GDPR rulings, it’s important to address the question of security and privacy in RFID technology. This can be especially concerning to new users of NFC when it comes to transferring money or worrying about personal information or data being stored from your credit card.

We’ve researched the main safeguarding issues when it comes to using NFC products and have summarised a few ways in which you can be safe and protect yourself from issues such as interception attacks, data corruption or modifying, eavesdropping or general theft. It’s easy to be worried about the likelihood of issues occurring with digital technology, due to fears being fed to you from mainstream media. It is however very unlikely to occur, and with the use of data encryption and ensuring secure channels, smartphone and NFC transactions are a far more reliable way to keep your details secure.

Data Corruption and Manipulation

Some criminals who target NFC devices will use a technique that corrupts or manipulates your data. For instance this could occur during a tappable transaction on your phone when private data is being sent to another device. A lot of NFC devices are now equipped with anti-data corruption and manipulation software, to prevent the hacks prior to the interference being made. This can also be stopped by ensuring communication channels for transactions are secure. 

Eavesdropping and Interception Attacks.

Eavesdropping refers to when a person attempts to “pick up on” or intercept an NFC purchase or transaction and steal private information using their own device. This can be prevented by keeping aware of unusual devices attached or nearby to where you are making your transaction, or by making sure where you’re shopping is a legitimate business that has a secure channel when it comes to NFC or payment transfers, as mentioned above. Secure channels will block inferring signals by being password protected.

General Theft

No one wants to be faced with their personal data or private information being at risk due to theft. Theft of property or losing an item and having somebody walk off with it is unfortunately one of those things that are hard to avoid, albeit a hopefully rare occurrence. You can however protect yourself prior to this occurring, so that if your phone is stolen, thieves can’t access your personal information or make transactions from your phone. The best way to ensure this is to ensure their phone is password protected or protected in another way, to stop users from logging in to your phone. If this were a credit card, the details could be easily used, whereas having a protected smartphone prevents this.

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