Practical attack scenarios on secure element-enabled mobile devices

Michael Roland, Josef Langer, Josef Scharinger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingsConference contributionpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Near Field Communication's card emulation mode is a way to put virtual smartcards into mobile phones. A recently launched application is Google Wallet. Google Wallet turns a phone into a credit card, a prepaid card and a tool to collect gift certificates and discounts. Card emulation mode uses dedicated smartcard chips, which are considered to fulfill high security standards. Therefore, card emulation mode is also considered to be safe and secure. However, an NFC-enabled mobile phone introduces a significantly different threat vector. Especially a mobile phone's permanent connectivity to a global network and the possibility to install arbitrary applications onto smart phones open up for several new attack scenarios. This paper gives an overview of the new risks imposed by mobile connectivity and untrusted mobile phone applications. The various APIs for secure element access on different mobile phone platforms and their access control mechanisms are analyzed. The security aspects of mobile phones are explained. Finally, two practical attack scenarios, a method to perform a denial of service (DoS) attack against a secure element and a method to remotely use the applications on a victims secure element without the victim's knowledge, are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 4th International Workshop on Near Field Communication, NFC 2012
PublisherIEEE Computer Society’s Conference Publishing Services
Pages19-24
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780769546780
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event4th International Research Workshop on Near Field Communication, NFC 2012 - Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 13 Mar 201213 Mar 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings - 4th International Workshop on Near Field Communication, NFC 2012

Conference

Conference4th International Research Workshop on Near Field Communication, NFC 2012
CountryFinland
CityHelsinki
Period13.03.201213.03.2012

Keywords

  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Security
  • Relay Attack
  • Denial of Service (DoS)

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