Sprint Adds Google Wallet Into New NFC Capable Phones


Oh look, another aspect of security and privacy to consider as Google pushes its’ mobile payment solution ‘Wallet’ onto two new NFC capable phones – the Galaxy Nexus & LG Viper.

If you haven’t heard of the service you can find out more here – Google Wallet (Wikipedia).

The main concern here (security wise) is that this relies on a secure storage on the phone of your cryptographic keys that allow you to carry out transactions.

Sprint’s two newly announced 4G handsets both support Google Wallet, bringing an important boost to Google’s aspirations, but they also hammer the death nail into WiMAX in the USA.

Sprint’s last 4G handset, the “Sprint Nexus S 4G”, was a WiMAX device, but Sprint has admitted backing the wrong 4G horse and is now transitioning to LTE across its network. So the operator will now be selling Google’s Galaxy Nexus and LG’s Viper handsets, both with support for Google Wallet for those wanting pay-by-bonk functionality.

Supporting the ability to make payments by tapping the phone against a reader isn’t just a matter of supporting Near Field Communications (NFC), you also need a secure element in which to store the cryptographic keys, which will be under the control of a mutually-trusted party, and then an application with which to make the payments.

Both the Galaxy Nexus and the Viper have a module built into the phone, under the control of Google – which is trusted by Mastercard and Visa. So far only Google itself and Citibank have created applications with which a user can make payments, and despite offering to pay for users’ groceries, Google Wallet is proving something of a slow burner at best.

I’d imagine the wallet system will have functionality to auto-reload from your credit card too, so if someone can manage to grab those cryptographic keys from the ‘secure’ area on your phone – you might be in for a surprise when you get your next credit card statement.

The plus side is, the adoption rate so far seems to be super low – so it’s not much of a risk right now.


It has not been helped by Verizon asking to have the functionality disabled in its spin of the Galaxy Nexus. The operator claims the decision was down to integration issues, but it is widely believed to have made the call in order to hold back a competitor until the US-operator-consortium wallet, ISIS, comes online.

ISIS uses a secure element held in the SIM – and thus under the operators’ control – and should work with any handset supporting the SWP (Single Wire Protocol) standard for NFC/SIM communications.

So once ISIS is available then the operators will start pushing it out to everyone with an SWP-supporting handset, including the Google Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper. Google needs to move fast and grab some market share before the operators shut it out, which is why these new handsets are so important to the Chocolate Factory as well as to Sprint.

There’s a whole lot of politics going on too with a new mobile payment system set to come online soon – ISIS – founded by…wait for it…AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. Yah, screw whoever tries to mess with ISIS – because they are gonna be in big trouble – the only major US operator missing is Sprint.

I’m guessing that’s why they are going with Google Wallet, there’s a very short article on Wikipedia about ISIS here.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Cryptography, Hardware Hacking, Privacy


Latest Posts:


truffleHog - Search Git for High Entropy Strings with Commit History truffleHog – Search Git for High Entropy Strings with Commit History
truffleHog is a Python-based tool to search Git for high entropy strings, digging deep into commit history and branches. This is effective at finding secrets accidentally committed.
AIEngine - AI-driven Network Intrusion Detection System AIEngine – AI-driven Network Intrusion Detection System
AIEngine is a next-generation interactive/programmable Python/Ruby/Java/Lua and Go AI-driven Network Intrusion Detection System engine with many capabilities.
Sooty - SOC Analyst All-In-One CLI Tool Sooty – SOC Analyst All-In-One CLI Tool
Sooty is a tool developed with the task of aiding a SOC analyst to automate parts of their workflow and speed up their process.
UBoat - Proof Of Concept PoC HTTP Botnet Project UBoat – Proof Of Concept PoC HTTP Botnet Project
UBoat is a PoC HTTP Botnet designed to replicate a full weaponised commercial botnet like the famous large scale infectors Festi, Grum, Zeus and SpyEye.
LambdaGuard - AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner LambdaGuard – AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner
LambdaGuard is a tool which allows you to visualise and audit the security of your serverless assets, an open-source AWS Lambda Serverless Security Scanner.
exe2powershell - Convert EXE to BAT Files exe2powershell – Convert EXE to BAT Files
exe2powershell is used to convert EXE to BAT files, the previously well known tool for this was exe2bat, this is a version for modern Windows.


Comments are closed.