Cellphones as Credit Cards? Americans Must Wait

PROTOTYPE Cellphones as Credit Cards? Americans Must Wait

By LESLIE BERLIN January 25, 2009

IMAGINE a technology that lets you pay for products just by waving your cellphone over a reader.

The technology exists, and, in fact, people in Japan have been using it for the last five years to pay for everything from train tickets to groceries to candy in vending machines. And in small-scale trials around the world, including in Atlanta, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area, nearly everyone has liked using this form of payment.

But consumers in the United States won't be able to wave and pay with their cellphones anytime soon: The myriad companies that must work together to give the technology to the masses have yet to agree on how to split the resulting revenue.


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Reply to
Monty Solomon
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Knowing how relatively simple it is to clone some cell phones this scares the crap out of me.

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On Thu, 29 Jan 2009, T posted:

Cloning a cell phone would do no good. The technology works via a RFID chip, typically in the back cover of the phone. It's basically a stored-value card embedded in the phone.

Thus, an attacker would have to attack the mechanism by which value is loaded onto the chip. On mobile phones, this is done by an application that runs on the phone, and has various registration/authorization hoops that need to be jumped.

I suspect that I'd be far easier to steal a phone than it would be to crack this system to steal from an authorized user. The Japanese have a lot of experience with security weaknesses with stored-value cards (they've pretty much given up entirely on passive magnetic data cards since those were cracked long ago).

The other possible form of attack (which was done on the passive cards) is not to steal from any authorized user, but rather to load false value on an card and/or to hack the card to report value that doesn't exist. But for that attack, why waste a mobile phone when you can buy a completely anonymous standalone card.

-- Mark --

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is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.

Reply to
Mark Crispin

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