Near Field Communication (NFC Architecture and Operating Modes)
SECURE MOBILE TRANSACTIONS USING
NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION
Sree Chitra Thirunal
College of Engineering
NFC – What is it ???
NFC or Near Field Communication is a short range high
frequency wireless communication technology.
A radio communication is established by touching the two
phones or keeping them in a proximity of a few centimeters.
NFC is mainly aimed for mobile or handheld devices.
NFC is an extension of Radio frequency identification.
It is a form of contactless communication between devices.
Can replace your wallets
NFC tags for task launcher
Can transfer electric charge from one device to another
Can work along with Bluetooth
Pairing Bluetooth devices in quick time
Distance: 10 cm or less
Operates at rates ranging from 106kBit/s to 424 Kbit/s
Lower power consumption
WORKING OF NFC
NFC is based on inductive-coupling.
NFC works using magnetic induction between two loop
A reader emits a small electric current, which creates a
magnetic field .
That field is received by a similar coil in the client
device, where it is turned back into electrical impulses to
So, NFC use an initiator and a target.
General Architecture of NFC Enabled
•Heart of the NFC enabled mobile phone
•Also called as baseband controller
•HC interface Creates a bridge between the NFC Controller and the
•Sets the operating modes of the NFC controller through the HC
•Secure proximity transactions with external NFC devices
•Secure Element is directly connected to NFC Controller
•Users and service providers assured that transaction takes place
in protected environment
•Combination of h/w, s/w, interfaces, and protocols embedded in a
•Enables secure storage
•More secure for storing credential data than storing in removable
SE option for an NFC enabled mobile phone are;
1)Embedded hardware in a mobile device as an integral, non-removable
part of the device.
2) Secure Memory Card (SMC) as a secure storage area in a
removable smart card.
3)UICC as a physical smart card and may be the most popular
A smart card soldered onto the mobile phone that cannot be
Level of security is high
Embedded into the mobile phone during the manufacturing stage
Can be personalized but cannot be transferred to another device
Secure Memory Card
It is a combination of a memory card and a smart card
Large storage space
More credential information can be stored
Can be inserted into a new device easily
Universal Integrated Circuit Card
It is commonly known as a SIM
Ensures the integrity and security of all kinds of personal
Can host as non-telecom applications such as payment,
loyalty, ticketing, e-passport, and so on
The cardholders can be reassured that transactions are
executed with their personal information protected
In this mode, both devices with NFC chip can generate an
electromagnetic field and exchange information with each other.
Two NFC enabled devices transferring
data in active mode
A passive device, such as an
NFC tag, contains information
that other devices can read but
does not read any information
itself, so there is only one
A NFC-enabled mobile phone is paired
with a RFID-tagged "smart poster"
Read data and alter stored in NFC tags
Can take appropriate actions on what stored in NFC
Does not require a secure area
The process only reads data stored inside the passive
tag and writing data to the passive tag.
Protocol Stack Architecture of Reader/Writer
•Analog is related to RF characteristics of NFC devices
and determines the operating range of devices.
•Digital protocols refer to the digital aspects of standards,
and define building blocks of the communication.
•Tag operations indicate the commands and instructions
used by NFC devices to operate NFC .
•NDEF applications are based on NDEF specifications
such as smart poster and reading product information from
NFC enabled smart shopping fliers.
•Non NDEF applications are vendor specific applications
such as an electronic purse balance reader and contactless
ticket reader which are not based on NDEF specifications.
NDEF message and NDEF
new NdefRecord(NdefRecord.TNF_MIME_MEDIA, "text/plain".getBytes(), new byte,
"Hello, NFC World!".getBytes())
In order for an application to be able to use NFC hardware and software of a
device, it must have the NFC permission, so add the following line to your
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.NFC" />
Since NFC is a fairly new technology, it will not work with older versions of
Android - according to developer.android.com, minimum API level 10 is
If your application can’t do its work on non NFC-enabled devices, you can make
sure that only compatible devices will see your app in the store:
A simple write to a tag
private boolean writeTag(final NdefMessage pMessage, final Tag pTag)
Ndef ndef = Ndef.get(pTag);
if (ndef != null)
if (messageSize > ndef.getMaxSize())
logAndToast("Write failed - message size exceeds tag size");
logAndToast("Write failed - tag is not writable");
ndef.writeNdefMessage(pMessage); logAndToast("Write completed");
Protocol Stack Architecture of Peer-to-Peer
Analog and digital protocols are lower layer protocols .
LLCP allows the transfer of upper layer information units
between two NFC devices .
Protocol bindings provide standard bindings to NFC Forum
protocols and allow interoperable use of registered
Simple NDEF exchange protocol allows exchange of NDEF
messages. It is also possible to run other protocols over the
data link layer provided by LLCP.
Applications may run over the simple NDEF exchange
protocol, other protocols, or NFC Forum protocols. Example
applications are printing from a camera, business card
exchange, and so on.
Here NFC enabled mobile phone acts as a smart card.
User touches the mobile phone to an NFC reader.
The NFC reader initiates the communication.
NFC mobile behaves like a standard smart card.
NFC reader interacts with the payment applications on the
Only card emulation mode uses SE efficiently and securely
to perform functions that require high security.
APPLICATIONS OF NFC
1) Touch and go
Applications such as access control, where the user needs only to
bring the device storing the ticket or access code close to the reader.
A person gathering info
about a movie using his
NFC enabled Mobile
2) Touch and Confirm
Applications such as mobile payment where the
user has to confirm the interaction by entering a
password or just accepting the transaction.
3) Touch and Connect
Linking two NFC-enabled devices to
enable peer to peer transfer of data.
4) A latest development is that NFC can
be used to configure Wi-Fi networks
through mobile devices.
Security Concerns with NFC Technology
Data Corruption and Manipulation
Use secure channel (only the authorized device could
decode the encrypted information).
Some NFC devices “listen” for data corruption attacks and
prevent them before they have a chance to get up and
Use Active – Passive modes with encrypted keys
Keeping phone’s password protected.
ADVANTAGES OF NFC
High convenience to the user.
Reduces cost of electronic issuance .
No manual configuration and settings.
No search and pair procedure.
NFC can be used together with existing technologies
like Bluetooth and thus act for longer range also.
NFC uses are practically limitless.
DISADVANTAGES OF NFC
The system has the limitation that it can be operated only with devices
under a short range i.e. around 10 cm.
The data transfer rate is very less at about 106kbps, 212 kbps and
Data Corruption and Manipulation
A NFC enabled vehicle can be unlocked and started just by tapping the User’s
NFC device onto the vehicle, thus removing the need of keys.
Can find the health of vehicle by using specific apps
Smart keyless doors can be made by implementing NFC technology into doors,
where a single tap of the device onto the door would unlock it
NFC is implemented in most handheld devices now a days.
The advancements in mobile wireless technology and
communication standards have enabled usage of contactless
and NFC based payment models.
The mobile wallet based payment model is gaining
considerable momentum and is currently being seen as one of
the key payment model.
The mobile wallet technology enables the end-users to make
payments with their mobile wallet accounts, without having to
use credit or debit cards.
Google. "Google Wallet: How it Works." (Jan. 28, 2012)
Kessler, Sarah. "NFC Technology: 6 Ways it Could Change Our Daily Lives
" Mash able “ . May 6, 2010. (Feb. 6, 2012)