The NFC technology is all about short distance wireless transfer. It is a way to wirelessly transmit and receive data through radio frequency over a distance of 4 cm or less.
Near Field Communication allows two devices to communicate when they are in contact or if they are close. Early trials of the Near Field Communication technology have shown some interesting possibilities in various fields, like data transfer or money transactions for example.
The core of Near Field Communication is based on RFID, Radio Frequency Identification. Unlike its “parent technology”, Near Field Communication is much more limited in terms of distance and its data transfer rate. This makes it more appropriate for precise actions as compared to those over a larger distance, in which case RFID is used. There are 3 types of responses and communication possibilities with Near Field Communication; Emulation, Peer to Peer and Reader/writer mode. In Emulation mode, the device is used like a Contactless Smartcard. This passive mode makes some information available to an active NFC enabled device. The information can be stored on a SIM card for example. Peer to Peer enables data transfer; contact cards and videos for example. The Reader/Writer mode makes the device capable of reading the “tags”.
The possibilities of the Near Field Communication
NFC is promising in the sense that it can be used for payments, like with Google Wallet or over wireless payment methods used around the world. The technology can also be used for advertising, entertainment, social networking or even security messages (a tag being the only way of accessing a restricted zone for example). Near Field Communication could be a good method to further merge the virtual world and the physical one.
Is the NFC really secure?
With all these possibilities, is it still safe to keep data available through Near Field Communications? Studies have already started about possible attacks done to a NFC transfer. The technology itself is “open”, even if the window of opportunity for attacks is restricted by the required distance factor. It is up to developers and the user to ensure encryption of the data they keep available through Near Field Communication