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NFC tags; about Tectiles, SmartTags, Tag+, Mifare and much more

NFC tags; about Tectiles, SmartTags, Tag+, Mifare and much more

You find a ton of information about tags on these pages, and still updating to make it as complete as possible. A mix of tips, tricks, facts, known problems, user feedback.

Buy NFC Tags with universal compatibility

Tapping a tag isn’t SECURE ?

“SECURITY FLAWS IN NFC” in the headlines after the Black Hat conference L.Vegas 2012. Relax and read here what it is about, do some googling about the details if you’re still concerned about this! Very few authors who write about the important details, a shocking headline to attract visitors is most important.
It’s more about opening URLs and accepting file transfers automatically without any prompt (by design), AND finding/using a vulnerability in the user’s web browser. NFC is used, but not really an exploit in NFC.

nfc tag in the wild

Tap me for my photo, Maria

C.Miller showed ways in which nfc can be used to force some mobile phones to open Web pages without user approval. Miller chose a web page which exploited a separate vulnerability in Webkit, the browser engine behind Google Chrome and other browsers. The browser exploit then downloaded necessary code and conducted an attack. Miller found some serious vulnerabilities, for a small subset of users, to solve by O.S. developers.

Launching a web page in the browser, or accepting file transfers without warning, without asking user’s permission, is the basis of the problem here. This is something we better avoid, using an app that not skips this extra step.

A link to a malicious web page, in an email is old fashioned. No surprise if soon smart posters appear with a link to a web page with malicious code. “TAP HERE FOR MY NAUGHTY PHOTO .. ” and .. original NFC tags can be replaced with malicious ones. It’s about Common Sense and Security vs Convenience. Using just your own tags, you don’t want and don’t need an extra step in an app, asking your permission before opening the browser and web page.

But more and more smart posters/tags will appear in the wild. IF you tap any tag, AND your app doesn’t show the address first for confirmation AND your browser has vulnerabilities … Then it’s like closing your eyes, pray and click any link.

About the author

Joao Rostli

23 comments

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  1. steven

    How do I prevent NFC tag cloning?
    Can WP8.1 device read the UID of a NFC tag?

    1. Joao Rostli

      NFC tags have no guaranteed protection against cloning.
      WP 8.x devices cannot read UID at the moment.

    2. Tag NFC

      About cloning, if you mean copying what’s written in the Tag, you can’t protect it.
      But the UID, instead, that is unique and not falsifiable.

  2. Liam Caffrey

    Does the new anticollision feature on NTAG21X tags mean that several tags can be read by an NFC reader at the same time (i.e. identify the NDEF from multiple tags (say 3 or 4) in a single presentation).

    If so, will existing NFC phones be able to take advantage? Also, will the existing Android SDKs be able to handle anticollision?

    1. Joao Rostli

      Sorry, I can’t answer your questions.
      Look at http://www.nxp.com for anticollision info.
      More info about Android SDK’s at http://www.stackoverflow.com.

  3. Mark

    Any confirmation as to which chips are inside the TecTiles 2? I’ve heard Type 4 but I’m curious how much they hold and which tag they are.

    1. Joao Rostli

      Update April ’13; “Some of them seem to be spotted already, type 4, 884 byte tags.”
      Since April I didn’t found more info about the Tectiles 2.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..LG D605 phone with new Broadcom BCM43341 quad-combo (+ nfc) chip My Profile

      1. Mark

        Thanks. I know they were using the Mifare 1K’s with the first generation of TecTiles but I can’t find what they’re using for the second round (other than what you posted). Yeah, info seems to peter out after the initial announcement of a product.

        1. Joao Rostli

          “Genuine Samsung TecTiles 2 NFC Tags MIFARE DESFire EV1 1K Type 4 Tag” I saw on Ebay, but not a Samsung advertisement.

          1. Mark

            Thanks!

  4. THG

    Hi

    This is a very interesting article and a wonderful job! However you don’t mention anything about NFC-v (vicinity mode). It’d be relevant that you complete this comprehensive review of the NFC ecosystem with a section about NFC-v chips such as NXP icode family.

    I work a lot with this product and til now we know that is readable with Android and BB handsets. Moreover I heard that Windows is evaluating it to update its NFC API sooner or later. At last another rumor let me believe that the NFC forum has a dedicated chair working an it as well.

    I’ll be glad to exchange with anybody interesting in NFC-v and may be bring additional intelligence to the discussion.

    thanks

    1. Joao Rostli

      THG, thank you very much for your contribution.
      I’ll put it on my to do list.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..HTC FirstMy Profile

  5. Randy

    What software can I use to program tags using a pc?

    Can i write a tag to turn off my phone or go into silent mode? I want to do this for windows and android.

    Thanks

    1. Joao Rostli

      The nfc reader/writer should come with software included. Check before you buy one.
      Sorry, no idea about programming options.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..New Samsung phones with Visa nfc contactless payments appMy Profile

  6. dsethia

    Thanks for the detailed post. Are NTAG21x tags compatible with Android Samsung phones like s3? Are there any apps specific to add signature and password protection?

    I am looking for secure write protected reusable tags that can be used in healthcare for tagging medicines, and other healthcare entities. any suggestions will be very helpful.

    1. Joao Rostli

      “Are NTAG21x tags compatible with Android Samsung phones like s3?” NTAGs are compatible with all nfc enabled phones.
      “write protected reusable tags” Most write protected tags are not reusable.
      Maybe helpful;
      1 Apps like “NFC ReTag” or “Anytag nfc launcher” do associate functions to a specific NFC Tag via an app internal database. These apps write nothing to the tag.
      2 (latest) Tectile app; Creates private TecTile tags that only the owner’s phone can read. The app can Unlock a previously locked TecTile. (Samsung’s tectile is a mifare classic tag and not compatible with all nfc enabled devices)

      Possibly a professional solution with type 4 tags exists?

  7. Glynn

    I found a great place for cool android themed tags is andytags.com – they have Mifare classic 1k and the ntag203 kind. Also have cool design and bunch of different colors

    1. Joao Rostli

      thank you Andy

  8. makandi

    thank u for this usefull subject.

  9. Tyler

    I can’t seem to find any specs anywhere. What’s a good replacement for the LG tag+ tags? Since I can’t seem to find any of those to buy anywhere either.

    1. Joao Rostli

      Yes, hard to find more info about tag+ tags. With an android phone, practically all tags are o.k.. In the worst case (pre-installed LG apps don’t work with other tags) you must install another nfc app. In Google play store, good and free apps available, NFC Task Launcher is very popular.
      Don’t forget to make the new app default.
      Joao Rostli recently posted..Asus PadFone 2 ann.My Profile

  10. panapena

    Hi,
    anyone has experience reading ISO 14443 typ B – cards with Nexus S or galaxy III or lumia 920?
    Thx.

    1. Joao Rostli

      This must be about forum type 4 tags ?
      Feedback from Lumia 920 owners will be difficult to find…

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