Basics of An NFC Hack
What is an NFC hack, anyway? Why is this particular form of wireless connection so vulnerable?
It has to do with the way that NFC is implemented on particular devices. Because NFC is a connection based on convenience, and because there aren’t many security checks in place, a bump could end up uploading a virus or malware or some other malicious file to the bumped device. And if the NFC implementation is insecure, that file could be automatically opened by the device.
Imagine if your computer automatically opened any file that it downloaded off the Internet. All it would take is one mistaken click on a bad link for your computer to auto-install malware. The concept is similar for NFC.
With these malicious apps running in the background, your phone could be secretly forwarding bank PINs and credit card numbers to an unauthorized person somewhere across the world. A virus might open up other vulnerabilities, allowing the malicious user full privileges to your device to read your email, texts, photos, and third-party app data.
The crux of the issue is that NFC transfers can be executed without the user even knowing a transfer is in progress. If someone could figure out a way to hide NFC tags in inconspicuous places where phones are likely to bump up against them, they could upload malicious data onto NFC-enabled devices without people even realizing it. Hacker group, Wall of Sheep, proved this with NFC-tagged posters and buttons.
The most effective way to secure against NFC vulnerabilities is simply not to use NFC at all. However, if you want to use functions like contactless payments, then there are steps you can take to make it more secure.
Compartmentalize your sensitive accounts. If you use your NFC device for, say, quickly making payments through Google Wallet, then one way to stay safe is to have a separate account just for NFC. That way, if your phone is ever compromised and your Google Wallet information is stolen, it will be the dummy account that’s stolen rather than your main account.
Turn off NFC when you aren’t using it. This prevents accidental bumps from delivering unwanted programs and malware to your device. You may not think your phone gets within bump-range of many devices throughout the day. But you’d be surprised, especially if you find yourself in crowds a lot.
Routinely check your device for malware, especially after you’ve used NFC. It may or may not be possible to fully prevent NFC hacks. But if you catch them before they do much damage, that will be better than not catching them at all. If you find anything suspicious, change your important passwords and security credentials right away.
Be Aware of Security Risks From Using NFC
NFC is a useful technology for certain functions. But it’s not without its security risks. Because it lacks password protection, it’s possible for hackers to access NFC data. They can even do this without you being aware of it.
It might seem like newly adopted technologies like NFC on phones only make them more vulnerable. However, on balance, phones now are more secure than ever before.
The 5 Best VPNs With A Free Trial Period
1. Try the ExpressVPN Free 30-Day Money Back Trial
Many VPNs offer a free trial based on the concept of a money-back deal if you’re not satisfied. They’re certain you will be, of course.
One example of this sort of trial is ExpressVPN. The VPN giant promises that after you sign up “If within 30 days you’re not 100% satisfied, you’ll get your money back. All of it.”
This is a brave promise that is worth considering. ExpressVPN offers 3,000+ servers in 160 locations across 94 countries. ExpressVPN has unlimited bandwidth, apps for almost every device, top-quality encryption, and you can stream Netflix and download torrents. Check our ExpressVPN review for more details.
Importantly, ExpressVPN’s 30-day money-back trial is not feature-limited. Use this link to get a 49% discount with ExpressVPN when you trial its VPN service.
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Like its main competitor, NordVPN offers a 30-day trial so you can enjoy a risk-free sample of its features.
Boasting almost 6,000 servers worldwide and six simultaneous connections, NordVPN has a clear no logs policy. It also features what it calls “Double VPN”—an advanced security feature that encrypts your data twice. Aimed at dissidents and journalists, this is an optional feature that can be enabled when required.
Fast, and ideal for video streaming and P2P video sharing, NordVPN has apps for almost any device you can think of. Take advantage of the NordVPN 30-day trial and see what they have to offer.
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Unlike the other VPN providers, CyberGhost offers a genuine free trial. If you’re looking for a VPN free trial with no credit card requirement, this is ideal.
While limited, you can use the CyberGhost trial free for one day and access VPN servers for streaming and torrenting.
CyberGhost splits its servers up by purpose. So, some are optimized for streaming Netflix; others for BBC iPlayer. CyberGhost has servers more suited to torrenting, while general use servers are for standard encrypted browsing.
With over 6,100 servers, apps for most platforms, and simultaneous connections on seven devices, CyberGhost is a great VPN. Sample CyberGhost’s VPN trial before you commit to a subscription.
4. ProtonVPN’s 30-Day Money-Back Trial Option
Unsure about signing up for a VPN? ProtonVPN has two options for you to get a taste of online encryption.
First is ProtonVPN’s limited single device free option. This gives you the chance to try a VPN with medium speed
Want something more? ProtonVPN also gives you a 30-day money-back trial. This gives you the chance to try the full ProtonVPN experience without any long-term commitment.
With this there is the option of Basic, Plus, and Visionary packages. These all provide a wider understanding of Proton’s privacy provisions (they also offer encrypted email) at different price points.
To find out more, visit ProtonVPN and sign up to their free option or grab a 30-day money-back subscription.
5. Try Surfshark for Free With a 30-Day Trial Period
Surfshark offers a free VPN trial
Another VPN you should consider is Surfshark. Its 30-day free trial is a great safety barrier.
Surfshark gives you apps for almost any device you can think of, with unlimited connections. It allows torrenting, site whitelisting (ideal for accessing banking sites and apps) but isn’t ideal for streaming video.