The Good News About NFC Not Taking Off - It's Ultra-Hackable

By Gary Cutlack on at

We've already seen the NFC dream tarnished a little bit by the bizarre UK banking data theft scandal, now it's the turn of the proper hackers to turn their attention to nicking our lives by waving a phone in our vague direction.

Hackers gathered at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas have been demonstrating numerous ways to tear NFC to pieces, with security researcher Charlie Miller hacking a Nexus S, a Galaxy Nexus and a Nokia N9 using NFC, eventually managing to access the phones' photos, send texts through the users' accounts, browse the web and make voice calls, all through using the contactless system.

Miller was using a glitch in the 4.0.1 version of Android which has since been patched to hack the Samsungs, although the same exploit exists within the Android Beam feature, which was used in the demo to redirect the phones' browser to a web site hackers could then use to install malicious code.

The Nokia N9 was even easier to hack, accepting all connections from outsiders once the user had activated the NFC feature. Once in, access to calling features, texts and photos was again gained. [NYT]