As mobile technology continues to evolve, it is constantly pushing the boundaries of security. Augmented reality has already been shown to present a very real threat to a person’s privacy, but smart phones harbor many tools that can be used against their owners. One tool, in particular, is seemingly harmless and is most often associated with the emergence of mobile commerce. NFC technology, though still in its infancy, has the potential to completely nullify any security methods used to protect a person’s identity or a company’s sensitive business information.
Near field communication (NFC) technology is a form of radio frequency identification (RFID). RFID is well known throughout the technology world for its ability to transmit information over long distances almost instantaneously. Chips embedded in to smart phones, or other devices, transmit a signal when stimulated by either the owner or another NFC-enabled device. This allows the two devices to communicate with each other, sharing information silently.
Typically, NFC-powered data transfers must first be approved by the owner of a smart phone before they can begin. However, small tweaks can be made to the system to disregard these wishes and allow the technology to act without seeking permission. NFC technology is already being used in this way by Britain’s counter-intelligence agency, MI6.
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Technologies such as augmented reality, NFC and QR codes are most often associated with innocent marketing or commerce ventures. In the age of technology, however, few things are as altruistic as they are presented to be.