Thursday, June 25, 2015

Near Field Communications

Arthur C. Clarke once wrote that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." It's a line often quoted in science fiction, and it's broadly treated as a truism. I thought of that when I saw this video. So in light of that idiom, I try not to dismiss the person below as an imbecile, just relatively non-technical.

You may have noticed that "chip" looks a lot like an RFID. It's a NFC chip. You can find these inside smartphones and other devices. It allows the unit to establish radio communications with each other devices allowing you to transfer data wirelessly between them. It's actually a feature of some Samsung phones, that allows you to use it with proximity credit card readers. It's used by applications like Apple Pay and Google Wallet. It even has some gaming applications. More here.

It's not stealing all your data. NFC tags do contain data, but only have between 96 and 4,096 bytes of memory. Think of it like short-range wi-fi. NFC operates at 13.56 MHz at data rates ranging from 106 kbit/s to 424 kbit/s. It's not much data, but it can certainly move some authentication, and a little data.. like a credit card number and a pin number.