Smartphones are becoming the “go to” mobile device for handling many of our daily routines.  We are using them for countless activities including online banking.

I just read an article about an upcoming feature on Android smartphones that is worth bringing to the attention of those who already use an Android or might be thinking of purchasing one in the future.

Tim Simonite of Technology Review wrote about the July 25th demonstration by Charlie Miller, a high-profile hacker, at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas (www.mashable.com; “Mobile Payment Chips Could Let Hackers Into Your Phone”).   In his article, Mr. Simonite describes how Mr. Miller used a white plastic card to tap on an Android smartphone.  Within a few seconds of having done so, Mr. Miller showed that the Android smartphone was running a malicious code that would allow a hacker to remotely access the device.

How is this possible?  As Mr. Miller explained, the access is made because of the near-field communication (NFC) chips that are now appearing in smartphones.  As described in the article, a smartphone with an NFC chip can be used to pay for items when the smartphone’s tapped on a reader.  Mr. Simonite wrote that Google is “…positioning NFC as a major feature of its Android operating system in support of its Google Wallet payments service …”

The NFC chips create new conveniences for smartphone users but also, as Mr. Miller expertly demonstrated, raise new security risks and questions.  Mr. Simonite’s article provides more of Mr. Miller’s presentation about the NFC chip technology and how hackers are able to use it.  Mr. Simonite’s article also contains links to several of his prior articles that are also well worth reading.  For example, he has previously written one entitled, “How a Web Link Can Take Control of Your Phone.”  I read it and it is very helpful.

These are technology advances that do, and can, make our lives easier.  I share the details so you can learn about the advantages as well as some of the potential security risks when deciding whether to use them.