McAfee Warns of Olympic FraudPublished: Monday, July 16th, 2012
With the Olympics only a fortnight away, many security companies are looking closely at all of the possible dangers that can be associated with a number of different technologies that are being used to make the games more accessible, easy to engage with, and fun.
One of these technologies that security firm McAfee have been particularly worried about is the use of NFC payments. NFC stands of ‘near field communications’, and allows for things to be paid for without the use of a credit or debit card. The device is simply scanned and money taken directly from a assigned account.
NFC devices have become an essential part of the games in terms of technology, particularly for the athletes. London 2012 Olympics committee have announced that every competitor will receive a free Galaxy S3 smartphone for competing this summer. This wide use of NFC technology worries McAfee.
McAfee believe, through their own work and research, that there is the malware out there to attack this sort of technology. PINs can be cracked and a ‘fuzz’ attack launched, meaning that the mobile deivce’s OS is targeted as well as its NFC libraries. This corrupts the data and throws vulnerabilities to light, which can then be targeted by the attacker.
McAfee also warns of other malware and virus dangers that could affect these phones should someone with malicious intent get hold of one of the phones that will be handed over to athletes. Their warnings will concern the manufacturers, who have been wanting to promote NFC technology in a wider context. It is already used in some capacities, and the most common one is an Oyster card which utilizes contactless technology for the London Underground. This new use will, however, have to be successfully used without any of the attacks feared by McAfee to make people feel more safe with this sort of technology.
Guest Article by Sophie Camp