Like most connected technology these days, near-field communication (NFC) is susceptible to hacking. By its very nature, NFC is normally accessible by anyone nearby. NFC, as it was originally intended, is designed to provide data wirelessly to any nearby readers without requiring a power source of its own.
While that data can certainly be encrypted, that makes it much harder to use for the purposes that NFC is useful for. But, when those uses are important, such as for financial transactions using credit cards or Bitcoin, it’s imperative that you keep your NFC chips from being accessible except for when you intend them to be. Unfortunately, standard NFC tags are hardwired to their antennas, which means they’re always accessible.
Fortunately, N-O-D-E, one of our favorite open source hardware developers, has just updated their solution called the NFC Key. This handy little keychain-friendly device protects your NFC chips in the simplest way possible: by physically disconnecting them from the antenna. Without the antenna connected, the chips just cannot be powered or transmit data.
When you’re ready to access your data, you push one two buttons which connect the two large 8kB NFC chips to the antenna. When the button is released, the antenna is once again disconnected. The new design has a bigger antenna, and a 3D-printed case to protect the electronics. The NFC Key 2 is available on the N-O-D-E store, but you can also make your own with the available open source files.