Olympic Athletes May Be A Testbed For Hackers

Back in May Samsung Electronics and Visa announced that a Samsung Galaxy S III, enabled with Visa’s mobile payment application, will be given to athletes and trialists during the London 2012 Olympic Games. The use of the smartphone’s Near Field Communication (NFC) capability together with Visa payWave enables the athletes to simply hold the phone to one of the UK’s 140,000 contactless payment terminals, many of which are in London and the Olympic Park (image below), to automatically pay amounts under £20.

Now computer security company McAfee has pointed out in a blog post that this promotion also presents a good opportunity for tech savvy criminals. McAfee believes the large number of contactless payment terminals at the Olympics together with a concentrated pool of targets (people and phones) will be an ideal environment to find vulnerabilities. The blog post mentions an interesting technique called ‘fuzzing the hardware’, which involves feeding corrupt or damaged data to an app to discover vulnerabilities.

London NFC payment locations

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