One of the key areas that consumers “may” be worried about with iBeacons is security.
Let’s refresh – iBeacons send a series of numbers out, that’s all. They are dumb in the fact that they have no functionality other than transmitting numbers.
iBeacons can be hacked, but not really in the way that scares the living daylights out of us all. Someone can intercept the numbers that are being transmitted.
Why? – Well that’s a pretty good question. The only thing that can be done with these is to replicate the beacon. So someone could sit at home with an iPad and create the beacon which would give the downloaded app data that makes the app think it is near the beacon.
This has very little value to the hacker.
The only thing that we can think of is that if an app offers some kind of prize for visiting the beacon (perhaps as part of a treasure hunt?) then it’s possible to trick the app in to believing that you have indeed completed the tasks.
However, if the prize has real value simply use GPS as well as the iBeacons. Make the user actually be in the right area geographically as well as having visited the beacons.
So that’s the threat – albeit more a bit of fun for a few bedroom hackers.
There is also talk of replacing NFC payment systems with iBeacons. Remembering that iBeacons are basically dumb units, all of the technology to encrypt data will have to be triggered by the smart device in conjunction with the cloud. iBeacons are the trigger NOT the method for passing secure data.