In 2004, Sony, Philips Semiconductor, Nokia co-developed a near-field communication technology (Near-field communication), which is now the smart phone’s NFC capabilities. As the overlord of the feature phone era, Nokia was the first manufacturer to introduce this technology to mobile phones. While Google and Apple are later to follow up the technology.
It is undeniable that Apple is the latest manufacturer to apply this technology. In 2014, Apple launched its first NFC-enabled smartphone, the iPhone 6. At that time, Apple imposed certain restrictions on NFC, and the iPhone’s NFC function can only be used for Apple Pay.
It was not until the release of iOS 13 in 2019 that Apple opened the iPhone’s NFC tag reading and writing function, which can be used with shortcut instructions to complete automated operations.
However, Apple still does not allow third-party applications and services to use the NFC function on the iPhone, which is controversial. Recently, the Australian Parliament asked Apple to explain the NFC issue on the iPhone. Apple said that the reason why the NFC function on the iPhone does not support HCE host card emulation is because it does not want to lose security like Android phones.
Since Google has opened up the NFC permissions, it can only choose software-centric solutions, and the security will generally be low. And Apple has a high degree of integration between the operating system and hardware, and can provide a complete integration solution. Compared with Android phones, NFC on the iPhone will be more secure.
At present, Google has denied that the NFC function on Android phones is less secure. At the same time, Google said that the Google Play user experience is the same as Apple Pay. In other words, the NFC function on Android phones is very safe.
Is NFC on the iPhone so safe?
Apple claims that the NFC function on the iPhone is more secure than Android phones. Is that true? Although Apple did not give a detailed explanation of the NFC on the iPhone, we can roughly infer whether Apple’s statement is correct from the previous disassembly diagram of foreign media.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, starting with iPhone 6, Apple officially introduced the NFC function. At that time, according to iFixit’s dismantling diagram of the iPhone 6, it is not difficult to see that the machine is equipped with an NFC chip model NXP-65V10.
Here is a simple knowledge point, NXP (NXP) is a semiconductor company, formerly the semiconductor division established by Philips. In addition to Apple, NXP also provides NFC chip solutions for other mobile phone manufacturers, such as Samsung. According to reports at the time, the NFC chip on the iPhone 6 is a model specially designed by NXP for Apple, but it is impossible to verify whether the chip is equipped with additional security components.
Looking back at the dismantling of iPhones of past generations, we can find that from iPhone 6 to iPhone 12, almost every generation of models uses NXP’s NFC chip solution. For example, the iPhone 7 Plus is equipped with PN67V, and the iPhone 8 Plus is equipped with 80V18. Earlier, foreign media Techinsights stated that the NFC chip of the iPhone 8 Plus is almost the same as the PN80T in the Samsung Galaxy S8 series of mobile phones.
▲iFixit’s disassembly diagram of iPhone 12
However, Techinsights has conducted an in-depth analysis of the PN80T NFC chip of the Samsung Galaxy S8 series. After X-ray irradiation, it was found that the PN80T has a built-in eFlash security element. This also means that as long as the mobile phone adopts NXP’s NFC chip solution, it is equipped with secure components.
For now, the NFC chip on the iPhone is not much different from the surface of the Android. As for whether the internal structure of the chip is consistent, it is temporarily unclear, so whether the NFC on the iPhone is really stronger than the Android phone in terms of security. Hard to judge. However, it is certain that the NFC chip on the Android phone is also equipped with related security elements, and its security is not necessarily worse than that of the iPhone.
Or we can change our thinking. If the NFC chip on the iPhone is more secure, why is Apple not confident in opening up relevant permissions to third-party applications?
Of course, hardware is only one aspect, and encryption on software algorithms can also improve the security of NFC. Take the lock screen password on the iPhone as an example. The official document shows that Apple uses a 256-bit AES encryption method to encrypt iPhone data. It can be said that it is more difficult to crack this encryption method than to get to the sky. Back then, the FBI could not crack the iPhone of criminals, let alone ordinary hackers.
At present, Apple has not publicly announced whether it has encrypted the NFC on the iPhone. If there is, then Apple’s statement may be true. If not, then this statement is somewhat unconvincing.
Is protecting user privacy and information security just a cover?
NFC itself does have many security risks. Take the UnionPay card with the QuickPass logo as an example. The information in the card can be read by a card reader. This information may include the consumer’s name, consumption record, ID number, etc. When criminals obtain the user’s bank card, it means that your personal information has been leaked, and the bank card may be stolen by others.
It can be seen from Apple’s official documents that NFC controllers and secure components basically serve Apple Pay. In one sentence, when users use Apple Pay to pay, the payment information will be encrypted by the secure element and then sent to the Apple server.
In fact, Apple does not allow third-party applications to authorize NFC permissions on the iPhone. It is only secondary to protect user privacy and security. Its main purpose is to maintain the dominant position of its own payment tools. According to the latest report released by the Prospective Industry Research Institute, as of the end of 2020, WeChat Pay ranked first in the world with 1.151 billion annual active users; among Apple mobile phones, Apple Pay users ushered in rapid growth, ranking third with 441 million users.
From Apple Pay annual active users fast speed was to increase term, because Apple NFC has been restricted, banks can only find apple cooperation, and not through a third-party application to access NFC on the iPhone, so the restrictions on NFC , apple fruit to order the biggest beneficiary.
Apple claims that it does not want to sacrifice the security of NFC like Android. It is actually just an excuse. Apple’s purpose is to monopolize the mobile payment market through Apple Play, thereby bringing more profits to the company.
For now, NFC on Android phones also has a secure element, which is not exclusive to Apple. And whether it is Apple or Android, they basically use NXP’s NFC solution. Since it is the same supplier, and Apple has not announced that it has participated in the development of NFC chips. Therefore, Apple claims that the NFC chip of the iPhone is more secure than Android. It should only be based on semi-open NFC and fully open NFC. Based on.
Based on the information currently available, the main difference in security between the NFC on the iPhone and Android is nothing more than the former has an additional restriction, which does not allow third-party applications to access the NFC on the iPhone. The rest is really good. There is no difference.
In fact, Apple should not forcibly deprive users of the right to choose. The application scenarios of NFC itself are quite general and can indeed bring a lot of convenience to users . For example, if you forget to bring your access card when you go out, the NFC on your phone will help you open the door; Fool-style connection accessories, NFC on the phone can help you get it, these are the practical value of NFC. Although Apple’s restriction of NFC does help to better protect the security of users’ personal information, at least an NFC permission switch should be set inside the system, allowing users to determine whether to grant certain third-party applications permissions based on their own needs.
Although Apple did add an NFC switch to the iOS settings, users still cannot read and write access cards and authorize third-party applications. For users, what they really want is the convenient features that NFC brings, and the castrated version of NFC will only make them gradually lose patience with Apple.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/google-rarely-makes-a-bad-face-because-of-a-word-from-apple/ Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.