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19 February 2013

Hoverkey adds NFC security to Android apps

Android users can ditch their passwords and instead wave a contactless smart card over their phone or tablet to securely log in to apps and access encrypted data.

A London-based startup has launched a system that uses a contactless smart card as a key to secure NFC-enabled Android devices.

Hoverkey can be used to automatically enter a complex password into a mobile login screen by touching a card to the device rather than typing it in. This, the company says, means that IT departments can mandate strong passwords to protect enterprise apps and data without meeting the usual user resistance.

The solution comprises a contactless card that establishes a mutually authenticated secure channel via NFC with a Hoverkey app running on the Android device. On first use the user's credentials are registered with the Hoverkey app, then transmitted over the secure channel to a Java Card applet running on the card, where they are encrypted. The resulting encrypted object is returned to the app for storage.