SmartMetric, a biometric identity protection firm, announced on Monday that the company had incorporated Near Field Communication into its fingerprint-activated biometric chip card to be used by the world’s financial institutions.
“This will enable institutions to offer a safer NFC solution than that which is currently available since the NFC Biometric Card will only be turned on allowing NFC communication to be inactive until the user touches the cards fingerprint sensor,” SmartMetric President and CEO Chaya Hendrick said. “All other NFC technologies are inherently unsafe in that the device is always on, providing hackers the ability to capture the NFC information even while the NFC product is not being used. Smartphones are a good example of ‘unsafe’ NFC systems.”
Smartphones are always connected to a network, even when the phone is off, leaving the device susceptible to an attack by hackers. The built-in network connectivity feature of the phone leaves the device unsecured, even if a fingerprint sensor was added, against attacks by hackers.
Hendrick said the safest platform and system for use to prevent a “hacker attack” is a device that is only powered on at the point of transaction initiation, adding that other systems are highly vulnerable and unsafe.
The company filed suit against Visa and MasterCard more than three years ago, alleging that Visa and MasterCard infringed on the company’s patent of contact chip cards known as smart cards, which are referred to by the industry as EMV cards.
SmartMetric said the use of EMV or chip cards in the U.S. violates its issued patent. Visa and MasterCard have attempted to replace all U.S. credit cards and ATM cards with EMV cards to conform to global standards.