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Just stand near a hacker and they have your personal data

Just stand near a hacker and they have your personal data
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

You might have seen a TV show or movie where a hacker grabbed someone's credit card information or cloned an RFID identity badge just by standing next to them. Unlike many Hollywood hacker techniques, this one is sadly real thanks to new technology.

Most new smartphones include a featured called Near Field Communication, which is based on radio frequency identification technology. This is a radio system that only works out to about 8 inches or so. It's great for transferring information to other gadgets, such as another smartphone or payment system, at close range.

At the same time NFC is appearing in every smartphone, an increasing number of credit cards are contactless. That means they contain an RFID chip that lets you make payments by touching the card to a payment system or just putting it near the payment system.

When you combine a smartphone with NFC and credit cards with RFID chips, you have a problem. A hacker could stand next to you and pull your credit card information.

Next page: More about this threat and how you can protect yourself
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