While meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump was given a soccer ball, symbolic of the 2018 World Cup played in Russia. Bloomberg has reported that the soccer ball contained a chip, known as near-field communication (NFC) tag, which can transmit information to nearby cellphones, presumably including Trump’s as well.
The chips can send content to mobile devices and users of the soccer ball can put their phones close to the ball and access videos and competitions. Although the manufacturer of the soccer ball indicated that the manufactured chip cannot be modified, Bloomberg reported that the chip has been used at least once to breach a mobile telephone. However security experts are doubtful that it can be used to launch a cyber-attack.
The Secret Service confirmed that the soccer ball was screened, along with all other gifts from the trip, but has not provided details about the chip in the soccer ball.
A soccer ball is an IoT product, just like any other, so soccer ball owners may wish to consider the security issues presented by chips in soccer balls just as they would with other IoT products.