Near field communication (NFC) and its validity as a secure system of data transfer - Essay Example

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The increasing number of applications that require short-range wireless communication has led to an increase in technologies that are designed to meet such a need, including the Near Field Communication (NFC). The NFC is technology applied in the provision of short-range…
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Near field communication (NFC) and its validity as a secure system of data transfer
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Near Field Commuication By Near Field Communication (NFC) The increasing number of applications that require short-range wireless communication has led to an increase in technologies that are designed to meet such a need, including the Near Field Communication (NFC). The NFC is technology applied in the provision of short-range wireless connectivity to allow for a two-way secure interaction between electronic devices. The communications are simple and unlike in most of the other wireless communications, they do not require user set-ups(Coskun, et al., 2011). The short range of the NFC s vital for its success in operation as it gives it a high level of inherent security. Being a non-contact technology, the NFC is highly advantageous as it does not require establishment of physical electrical contact. As such, in applications such as those requiring the use of cards, there is no need of inserting cards that use NFC into the reader, thus avoiding any problems that may be associated with poor contact.
It is important to note that NFC uses inductive-coupling at a license free frequency allocation in the radio spectrum HF portion(Ahson & Ilyas, 2012, p. 33). NFC has a set of standards that govern it thus allowing for connectivity between NFC devices from different manufacturers. Besides creating the contactless environment for NFC interactions, the standards also determine the data transfer rates and the data formats. An NFC connection is simply achieved by bringing two electronic devices together within a close range to allow them to communicate. This eradicates the problem with identification and minimizes the issue with security, allowing for easier exchange of information.
The NFC can be used for a variety of applications including in: mobile phones to transfer files from one handset to another; personal computers to link up networks for data transmission; point-of sale machines; turnstiles; parking meters; vending machines; and in other applications in the house or office, such as opening and closing of the garage doors(Finkenzeller, 2010, p. 80). The NFC connections could also be applied in the configuration of the connection between two devices that have wireless connections. Bringing the devices together allows for the initiation of the NFC connection which in turn initiates the set-up procedure. Other long-range wireless devices including the Bluetooth could be configured through communication with the NFC interface(Coskun, et al., 2011).
NFC are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MITM) attackswhich involve attackers succeeding in interception of the communication between two user devices and acting as a relay. In this case, the attacker proceeds to pass on the data either after reading it or modifying it. Achievement of an MITM attack is unlikely due to the short distance requirement. Chances of an MITM attack can be minimized through the use of an active-passive mode of communication(Sharma, et al., 2013, p. 343). This would allow for the detection and hearing of any uninvited third party.
As much as a short distance is used in NFC communications, this does not guarantee security, with various types of attacks having been identified as possibilities. One of the attacks is eavesdropping, where an attacker employs an antenna in recording of an NFC communication. This can be prevented through establishment of a secure channel between the NFC devices(Ahson & Ilyas, 2012, p. 41). Another possible attack involves data modification in which case the attacker captures and modifies the communicated data using a radio frequency. This attack could be prevented using the RFID jammer. Spoofing is also a common attack when it comes to NFC networks, which involves the attacker pretending to be a different entity thus inducing a user into tapping its device against a given tag. The countermeasure of such an attack involves proper configuration of the device develop a prompt message before initiating commands through NFC(Coskun, et al., 2011). However, these attacks are but a few of the downsides of the NFC, which are outweighed by the benefits which have allowed for a more state-of-the-art method of transfer of data and communication.
Ahson, S. A. & Ilyas, M., 2012. Near Field Communications Handbook. Boca Raton: CRC Press.
Coskun, V., Ok, K. & Ozdenizci, B., 2011. Near Field Communication (NFC): From Theory to Practice. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Finkenzeller, K., 2010. RFID Handbook: Fundamentals and Applications in Contactless Smart Cards, Radio Frequency Identification, and Near-Field Communication. 3rd ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Sharma, V., Gusain, P. & Kumar, P., 2013. Near Field Communication. Amsterdam, Netherlands, Atlantis Press. Read More
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