University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Security Seminar > Eavesdropping near field contactless payments: A quantitative analysis

Eavesdropping near field contactless payments: A quantitative analysis

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Abstract: We present a quantitative assessment in terms of frame error rates for the success of an eavesdropping attack on a contactless transaction using easily concealable antennas and low cost electronics. An inductive loop, similar in size to those found in mobile devices equipped with NFC capabilities, was used to emulate an ISO 14443 transmission. For eavesdropping we used an identical loop antenna as well as a modified shopping trolley. Synchronisation and frame recovery were implemented in software. As a principal result of our experiments we present the FER achieved over a range of eavesdropping distances, up to 1m, at different magnetic field strengths within the range specified by the ISO 14443 standard.

Bio: Thomas is a PhD candidate at the University of Surrey, looking into the security and privacy of near field contactless payments. He is currently investigating how a combination of remote interrogation and eavesdropping could be used to extract information from contactless devices that could potentially cause financial or anonymity loss for the victim. Following his military service, he studied for a BEng in electrical engineering from the University of Sheffield and an MSc in communications and signal processing from the University of Bristol.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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