Security Issues with New Field Technology and QR Codes

QR codes are the small two-dimensional bar codes that are popping up on everything. Driving through town they can be found nearly everywhere. NFC or Near Field Communications is giving people the ability to pay for their purchases with the tap of a cell phone. While they both are encouraging and look promising as times progresses, there are significant security problems, which need to be addressed.

QR codes can be malicious. Most QR codes are put out by reputable companies. If the website the code is directing customers to, falls into the wrong hands; that could mean disaster. Websites can be corrupted and by logging on to a specific website, it could potentially destroy operating systems on smart phones. One security group offers advice to look at the URL addresses before clicking into it. It may seem harmless, but double checking is necessary for safety. While it seems impossible to have security issues on a cell phone, those who surf the web and download applications have similar risk to a computer. Mal-ware is a common problem that can easily damage a cell phone.

New Field Technologies is the ability to pay using the smart phone. The smart phone communicates with a reader attached to a register. The money is deducted from a credit card that is set up on the NFC application. Most phones are currently equipped with NFC chips and are able to be used. As NFC technology becomes a more common method for paying electronically, the need for fail proof security is immense. Anytime someone is using RF waves, like in NFC; someone can eavesdrop. While some phones do have the technology, by the end of 2014 nearly 300 million smart phones will be NFC ready.

People are quite nervous when they learn that NFC originally started from espionage out of Russia. Leon Theremin created a tool called “The Thing”, and it was using the same technology. As of right now only 32% of smart phone users confess to scanning the QR codes. As the numbers increase, it will be more familiar to hear of security breaches.

So what methods does the average person need to do to keep their phone safe? All phones need to have antivirus software installed. When doing NFC transactions, make sure that there is a pin or password set up. Setting up a pin will give extra security. It will ensure that no one can make a transaction, without using the identification number first. Because new NFC and QR technological advances are being made every day, proactive security is the key to keeping the phone safe.

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