Is NFC Hacking Related to Scanners/Radio Communications?

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rs16

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Living in Buffalo, the recent incident between protester Martin Gugino and the Buffalo PD has been a big story. I have no stance to take on the police action here, but have a question about "NFC Hacking".

Some conservative outlets are suggesting that Gugino was trying to do an "NFC Hack" with his phone against something on the officer. See this video. It does appear that is the case to me. I don't understand what that is but I've read it has to do with getting personal info and maybe affecting police communication somehow.

My question is, would the police move to encryption to prevent NFC hacking? Is NFC hacking related to what we listen to on scanners? Can anyone explain what is going on here? I'd hate to see encryption happen because of this type of incident.
 

mmckenna

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My question is, would the police move to encryption to prevent NFC hacking? Is NFC hacking related to what we listen to on scanners? Can anyone explain what is going on here? I'd hate to see encryption happen because of this type of incident.
No. Near Field Communications is good for a couple of INCHES. That's it.
This would have nothing to do with encrypting radio traffic.

I suspect there are those that would grasp at straws like NFC to justify what the officers did. I think it's exactly that, grasping at straws.
 

rs16

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No. Near Field Communications is good for a couple of INCHES. That's it.
This would have nothing to do with encrypting radio traffic.

I suspect there are those that would grasp at straws like NFC to justify what the officers did. I think it's exactly that, grasping at straws.
What would a hacker gain from doing this? And what device is the individual trying to scan with the phone (if anything) in that video?
 

mmckenna

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And what device is the individual trying to scan with the phone (if anything) in that video?
To me it looks like he was holding his phone in his hand, as people often do.

He was sticking his arms out to slow the officers down.

I doubt there is any connection between the two events. Like I said, some are trying to find justification for what happened.
 
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mmckenna

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What would a hacker gain from doing this?
Reading cards/devices that use NFC. That could mean trying to connect to the officers phone, reading a door access card, reading a credit card.

But you probably wouldn't get anything useful from any of those. Again, people looking for justifications. If law enforcement was really concerned about NFC hacking, they should have that turned off on their phones, keep their credit cards somewhere safe, and require a typed in code along with the NFC door access.

I carry an NFC card for door access at work. It's totally useless without the pin number that is tied to it. I don't use NFC on my cell phone. And I doubt the officer would be carrying around personal credit cards in a vest pocket like that.
 

rs16

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Reading cards/devices that use NFC. That could mean trying to connect to the officers phone, reading a door access card, reading a credit card.

But you probably wouldn't get anything useful from any of those. Again, people looking for justifications. If law enforcement was really concerned about NFC hacking, they should have that turned off on their phones, keep their credit cards somewhere safe, and require a typed in code along with the NFC door access.

I carry an NFC card for door access at work. It's totally useless without the pin number that is tied to it. I don't use NFC on my cell phone. And I doubt the officer would be carrying around personal credit cards in a vest pocket like that.
OK, Thanks for the info. I'm not really sure what he was doing with the phone. I'm sure you're right. I spotted something online claiming that NFC hacking could be used to affect police communications so that's why I was confused.
 

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I should add that some higher tier radios (APX line) do have NFC capability for audio, but like I said, only good for a few inches at best. Not going to be something that could be easily interfered with. Best you could do at close range is hear radio traffic.
 

bharvey2

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In slow motion, Gugino's behavior with his phone looks peculiar. It does look like he's waving it around intentionally especially when the second office approaches him. I understand that he was employed in the computer technology field so with that in mind maybe he was trying to gain some type of info but any success in this seems unlikely. However, he seems to be having some type of communication with the first officer. In that context, he could just as easily be holding his phone and pointing with it. Context is everything. Given that he appeared to be talking to the first officer and the conversation appears civil to me, I 'm not sure why another officer felt the need to intervene.
 

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I ran across the tweet/website that seems to be pushing this theory. Not surprising.

I'm not sure how someone would use an NFC reader to somehow disrupt police communications. I'm happy if someone thinks they know the answer, but they'd need to back it up with some verifiable facts. So far the only claims I've seen on line do not contain any facts, and seem to be trying to lead readers to a conclusion that what happened was justified. I'll bet my next paycheck that those officers have no idea what NFC is or how it is even used. Trying to use that as a justification after the fact is silly.

The guy should have kept his distance. Rushing up to an officer in that sort of situation was going to incite a response. The shoving was uncalled for. Ignoring him after he was visibly bleeding shows a level of contempt for the public that does not belong in law enforcement.
Trying to justify it by claiming it was some sort of attack on their technology is just furthering the issue.
 

prcguy

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Unless the device was not a cell phone or it was a cell phone with something connected to it, it can't do anything beyond reading wifi or bluetooth signals. If the phone was a hacking device or had some hacking equipment connected to it we would have heard about it in the news already.

Mr Gugiano is a professional agitator, possibly paid for what he does, who came in from another city to disrupt things and incite chaos. Curfew was in effect and the police had started clearing the streets shouting for people to move when Gugino approached the line of police getting very close and waving his hand near the officers gun belt. There are two camera angles that show he was brushed aside and the fall looks completely staged and the type of thing Gugiano probably practices and hopes for during his agitating. There are also reports of fake blood being squirted from under his mask area and not coming from the bump on his head.

I think this should come under the heading of "stupid is as stupid does" and I think the guy should have been handcuffed and kicked in the face while on the ground. Probably not good advice for the police but it would have made many of us feel better watching the idiot on TV. Same thing goes for most police chases, we all really want the guy in the stolen car to accidentally drive off a cliff or into a concrete wall trying to escape. It makes for good TV in these boring times.

I ran across the tweet/website that seems to be pushing this theory. Not surprising.

I'm not sure how someone would use an NFC reader to somehow disrupt police communications. I'm happy if someone thinks they know the answer, but they'd need to back it up with some verifiable facts. So far the only claims I've seen on line do not contain any facts, and seem to be trying to lead readers to a conclusion that what happened was justified. I'll bet my next paycheck that those officers have no idea what NFC is or how it is even used. Trying to use that as a justification after the fact is silly.

The guy should have kept his distance. Rushing up to an officer in that sort of situation was going to incite a response. The shoving was uncalled for. Ignoring him after he was visibly bleeding shows a level of contempt for the public that does not belong in law enforcement.
Trying to justify it by claiming it was some sort of attack on their technology is just furthering the issue.
 

rs16

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Unless the device was not a cell phone or it was a cell phone with something connected to it, it can't do anything beyond reading wifi or bluetooth signals. If the phone was a hacking device or had some hacking equipment connected to it we would have heard about it in the news already.

Mr Gugiano is a professional agitator, possibly paid for what he does, who came in from another city to disrupt things and incite chaos. Curfew was in effect and the police had started clearing the streets shouting for people to move when Gugino approached the line of police getting very close and waving his hand near the officers gun belt. There are two camera angles that show he was brushed aside and the fall looks completely staged and the type of thing Gugiano probably practices and hopes for during his agitating. There are also reports of fake blood being squirted from under his mask area and not coming from the bump on his head.

I think this should come under the heading of "stupid is as stupid does" and I think the guy should have been handcuffed and kicked in the face while on the ground. Probably not good advice for the police but it would have made many of us feel better watching the idiot on TV. Same thing goes for most police chases, we all really want the guy in the stolen car to accidentally drive off a cliff or into a concrete wall trying to escape. It makes for good TV in these boring times.
I live in Buffalo and I am not a Gugino supporter, but I don't want to get into what the police should have or have not done so as not to get the thread shut down. (That's why I was specifically asking about the NFC hacking allegation in my original post).

For the record Gugino is local and a longtime regular activist at WNY protests/peace movement, etc. He's from Amherst, NY which is a Buffalo suburb where the University at Buffalo is located.
 

mmckenna

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Unless the device was not a cell phone or it was a cell phone with something connected to it, it can't do anything beyond reading wifi or bluetooth signals. If the phone was a hacking device or had some hacking equipment connected to it we would have heard about it in the news already.
Yep, that's what I was thinking, but answering rs16's post about NFC. Bluetooth I could understand, but any agency that doesn't lock down their bluetooth programming capability on the newer radios probably deserves it.

As for the altercation, it took two (or three) for that tango to happen. Gugino should have thought a bit farther ahead on that. Lapse of judgement or not the sharpest tool in the shed, take your pick depending on your political party.
 

bharvey2

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I did a quick search on Gugino and it it was fairly evident that he frequently participates in protests and such. I found little to refute that. Nothing that I've seen suggests that he was being violent but given that he is not new to the protest scene, he should clearly understand that approaching the police under those circumstances isn't a wise move. I sure don't think that PD was thinking NFC hacking am I'm still not convinced that an attempt would do any good. But, the more I see the video, the more it looks like he was trying to "draw a foul".
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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Police booking reports, he's been arrested at least 4 times and brags about it.
I had an "uncle", "JG" that was a political activist. He was heir to the Nik-O-Lock company. Anti war activist. Also did a lot for the Haitians. When he died there was a big Haitian turn out for his funeral. He could have spent his money on golf or booze.
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

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I did a quick search on Gugino and it it was fairly evident that he frequently participates in protests and such. I found little to refute that. Nothing that I've seen suggests that he was being violent but given that he is not new to the protest scene, he should clearly understand that approaching the police under those circumstances isn't a wise move. I sure don't think that PD was thinking NFC hacking am I'm still not convinced that an attempt would do any good. But, the more I see the video, the more it looks like he was trying to "draw a foul".
Those cops should have attended to him right away instead of marching off. That is the bad impression the public is left with. I saw another cop turn away , forground of the camera and start to do a sign of the cross. Hey that's nice dude, but at least stop and check on the man.
 

bharvey2

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Those cops should have attended to him right away instead of marching off. That is the bad impression the public is left with. I saw another cop turn away , forground of the camera and start to do a sign of the cross. Hey that's nice dude, but at least stop and check on the man.

Agreed. It looks bad and just helps push the "all cops are bad" message further. The first time I saw this video, What stood out to me the most was not that there was any type of confrontation as neither action on either side appear over the top, but that the officers kept on walking.
 

pjtnascar

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I doubt that he was trying to interfere with comms. He more likely said something they didn't like. I am most disturbed by the fact that they kept walking. I wouldn't be surprised if that idea of jamming was introduced to further fuel the switch to digital/encrypted communications.
 
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