CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Tired of fumbling in your pants pocket or purse for cash or credit card?
Some of us seems to have to dig for those yet we have our smartphones clipped to our belts or more easily accessible. We have warned you to be careful of credit cards that have smart chips embedded in them that can be read by scanners. So, is your new digital "wallet", which is your smartphone, a good idea?
WBTV's cyber expert Theresa Payton shares the latest development in wallets going digital.
"In the technology community we have talked about this and envisioned this but enabling it was clunky and expensive. But we're getting close to reality," Payton says.
"Some of us already have credit cards with chips in them that let us wave them over points of sale to pay and may not even know it. There are some smartphone apps that allow you to take and give credit card payments," she continued.
"Taking that a step further, Google has a prototype of an Android phone that could be waved over a point of sale to pay for a purchase. The technology is called "NFC" or Near Field Communication and uses radio signals to send your credit card or bank account information to the register." said Payton.
It's still in the early stages but security and privacy experts have unanswered questions and concerns.
- Losing a smartphone that is not password protected could pose a risk
- Accidentally waving the smartphone too close to a terminal in the midst of a transaction could mean you pay for someone else's purchases or you charge your own when you meant to use cash
- Radio frequency reader technology continues to improve so a criminal could have an easier time trying to scan your phone or hijacking it to pay for other goods and services for themselves
- The latest products promise that the transaction information is encrypted, which makes it as secure as credit card transactions now.
- This technology requires proximity
- You can set passwords on your phone
- Your credit card and banking information should still be protected via passwords that would not be resident on the phone
- Also consider being a "fast follower" if you can stand it: Let the technology mature a little bit before jumping in so you can understand the risks and what cybercriminals decide to do to exploit the digital wallet on the smartphone.
WORD FOR THE WEEK:
Mega-D. It sounds like a vitamin but it's not. Mega-D was a botnet that, at one time, produced about 1/3 of all the world's spam emails. It is estimated that 500,000 or more computers are infected with this botnet around the world which means your home computer might be sending spam mail to friends and family. The FBI recently apprehended a man believed to be the mastermind behind Mega-D. Unfortunately, other botnets are quickly filling the void!