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NFC offers many entry points for ID theft

Aug 16, 2013 Dave King

Mobile payments are growing more popular as they make the purchasing process more convenient for consumers, who no longer even have to pull out a physical wallet. However, it also is proving to be a security headache for companies that now must protect customers against identity theft.

The use of near-field communications (NFC), while increasingly popular, is putting more data at risk. According to InformationWeek, when consumers lose their smartphones now, it is akin to having their credit and debit cards as well as other personal information such as email and account passwords stolen.

Physically having a device stolen isn't the only way individuals' information may be compromised, though. The news source explained that criminals can "eavesdrop," "intruders tap in to NFC signals using advanced electronic circuits," InformationWeek reported. "To prevent eavesdropping, NFC standards are also being improved with authentication and encryption of sensitive data during transfer."

American Banker recently warned that now even SIM cards are fair game for hackers, offering access to the very mobile bank accounts being used in NFC transactions as well as additional credit numbers.