It would seem that even the next generation of “secure” payment systems are showing up with flaws before they really hit the streets. According to security researchers there is a flaw in the next generation of electronic payments dubbed chip-n-PIN. This new technology has been hailed as the more secure means of using your cash without all the worry of swipe fraud or other hassles of using the more traditional magnetic cards. However, as with far too man y technologies these days, someone missed a rather big loophole for the bad guys to exploit
When Apple announced their new NFC payment system it seemed the press and analysts were in nirvana. You could not open up a news site without seeing a headline on how Apple pay was going to change your life. Most of these failed to acknowledge that mobile payments (even through NFC) have existed for decades and that Google Wallet was and still is accepted at a number of locations. They were convinced that Apple pay was the way to go and they (Apple) had the future in their hands.
If there is one thing I do not like it is the way that some members of the technical press show their bias. This morning, while I was trying to have a nice cup of coffee, I had to stomach several articles that seem to feel that NFC (near field communication) is now the wave of the future simply because it is rumored that Apple will have it in their next devices. This despite the fact that some of these same reporters claimed it was nothing when everyone else did it years ago.
There is no doubt that the mobile market is beginning to become the focus of hardware manufacturers. In many ways this market is eclipsing what we are seeing for more mainstream computer systems. One of the biggest reasons for this is that while most people will own a phone or portable media player only a fraction of that group will own a desktop computer. Because of this the demand for high-quality components and accessories has been growing at an exponential rate. Even companies that were once dedicated to the more traditional “PC” are starting to build devices for the mobile market. A couple of areas that are growing very quickly are power and audio. Here you have two very vital functions that anyone with a mobile device needs to think about. You have to have power to keep things going and most (if not all) will want a way to listen to their media on more than just the bundled set of headphones. Today we are taking a look at a product from LUXA2 that addresses both of these areas with style. So let us introduce the LUXA2 GroovyW Bluetooth speaker set and wireless charging unit.
Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Atheros announced a new NFC chip labeled QCA1990 which is half the size of the current NFC chip and can supposedly work with an 8 times smaller antenna. According to Qualcomm's assessment, installation of this chip would be more cost effective than the installation of the current chips in use by smartphone manufacturers. They believe that the installation of QCA1990 into the lower tier smartphones would also be cost effective.
Isn’t it nice when you can share something with other smartphone users just by tapping your phones together? Well, if we consider the popularity that near field technology is getting it could be the “go-to” close range sharing technology. So far it's mostly found on Android devices, but Apple won’t sit idle on this one. Now they were given a patent on technology similar to what is already available with NFC but apparently different enough. It looks like the smartphone war is just warming up.
It looks like there is a simple hack, containing of only one line of code that can start an unstoppable factory reset on the Samsung Galaxy S3. According to security researchers there is a simple USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) code that can do some serious harm to S3 owners. USSD is a session based GSM protocol unlike SMS and MMS, and it is used to send messages between a mobile phone and an application server. With the advancements in technology there are more than few services based on USSD, some of them are social networking apps, mobile banking, prepaid recharge/account balance, even the NFC technology and QR codes.
Straight from the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas we have some bad news for the Apple fans. It seems that the myth surrounding the security of the iPhone is starting to crack around the edges. This is something that we predicted would happen when the trend to use Smartphones for common net tasks first started appearing. It only make sense that malicious coders would start hitting out smart phones after all. I mean how many people use their phones for banking, personal and work email, store passwords to online accounts in their phones with password lockers and more. To be honest, considering the number of smart phones in use, we are surprised that it has taken this long.
The Black Hat conference is happening right now in Sin City and already there is news coming out of the gather that should send chills down the spine of many smartphone owners. Apparently it is dead simple to exploit the NFC (Near Field Communications) found on Nokia and Samsung Products (this also extends to the NFC that will be in Apple’s devices when they are launched later this year). If you trot around with your NFC feature enabled someone can gain control of your phone by simply brushing a properly prepared tag against it.
We have been following Apple’s free run through the patent office for quite a while now (and I covered it long before starting this site). In the beginning Apple would patent advancements or refinements on technology they “borrowed” from others. Often these improvements were so noticeable that they were close to being a new technology. Even Steve Jobs once admitted to shamelessly stealing the ideas of others. What they were not doing at the time was using the patent system as a tool to stifle competition and they had not built the mythology that they invent everything just yet.