Kids, our lesson for today is: not everything you see on the Internet or claims to be the “real deal” is actually real. Yes, this is something you would think that everyone knows already, but some people still get fooled every once in a while. Case in point: a video is making its rounds on your favorite social networks, claiming that your smartphone batteries that have the NFC sticker on them is actually spying on the data you save on your phone and stealing your photos for some nefarious purposes.
Of course, any sane, rational person would not believe this nonsense, but in this age of digital security paranoia (thanks to Wikileaks and Edward Snowden, which have their own merits to be fair), a lot of people are still gullible enough to believe anything that has to do with Internet security (or lack thereof). The newest viral post is of someone tearing off a sticker from the battery of his Samsung Galaxy S4, and suggesting that it is actually the OEM’s way of “stealing” the photos off of your smartphone and putting it up on their cloud or something.
If you know anything about smartphones, you would know that the sticker he peeled off is actually an NFC antenna, which allows your device to use features like Android Pay or other software that would nead NFC or Near-Field Communication. So if like this guy, you peeled off that sticker, you haven’t actually saved your photos from being hacked, but you’ve prevented yourself from actually using apps that need NFC to work.
And just to assure you, no NFC-enabled devices cannot connect to the Internet on its own and it does not have the capability of stealing any data from your smartphone or tablet onto another device, even if it’s within 20cm of your device (which is what the NFC tag needs in order to work).