Black Hat conference shown NFC-based smartphone hacking demo
Nine months hard research to uncover flaws
By Ellen Messmer | Network World US | Published: 10:02, 26 July 2012
The Black Hat Conference has seen a demo by Accuvant Labs researcher Charlie Miller of how to break into both the Google/Samsung Nexus S and Nokia N9 by means of the Near Field Communication (NFC) capability in the smartphones.
NFC is still new but its starting to become adopted for use in smartphone-based purchasing in particular. The experimentation that Miller did, which he demonstrated at the event, showed its possible to set up NFC-based radio communication to share content with the smartphones to play tricks, such as writing an exploit to crash phones and even in certain circumstances read files on the phone and more.
I can read all the files, said Miller about how he managed to break into the Nokia 9 when his home-made NFC-based device is in very close proximity to the targeted smartphone. I can make phone calls, too. Vulnerabilities he identified in the Android-powered Nexus S were located in the browser surface, he said. NFC works at near-contact range, and it could not be used to attack from any distance.
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Miller said his efforts involved nine months of experimentation with NFC fuzzing techniques, and help from a cast of friends and fellow researchers. He said he plans to make his home-grown NFC fuzzing tool available to help with testing of NFC implementations since there really arent any today.