Warning issued to Australians using their phones to make ‘tap and go’ payments
- Warning cyber expert Ben Britton
- He said using a smartphone was risky
Australians are being warned about the dangers of keeping their credit card details on their mobile phones so they can enjoy the ease of digital tap-and-go.
One in three payments are now made by tapping a smartphone onto a contactless device.
New data from the Reserve Bank of Australia shows that younger consumers are particularly keen to use their mobile phone rather than a plastic card for a quick payment.
But cybersecurity expert Benjamin Britton said credit card apps on mobile phones are at risk if a hacker sends a text message or email that tricks the owner into clicking on it.
Your virtual phone wallet acts as a digital copy of your card, which means if hackers have access to your phone – they can pass your card details on as well.
Unlike online banking, where consumers have to log in or give access via facial recognition, a digital wallet app — which is also used to store a driver’s license, airline tickets or vaccination certificate — is much less secure.
When you do it through the phone, that device you’re on is connected to the internet, so if that device gets hacked – if someone has malware installed on it or a hacker gains access to it – that information is going to be compromised,” Mr Bretton told the Daily Mail. Australia.
Mobile phone can be hacked and this is what people don’t understand.
“I’m sure hackers do that every single day – either figure out how they can copy it or steal that digital card and they can probably use it.”
Australians have been warned about the dangers of tapping their mobile phones to pay for goods instead of using their credit cards
Britton, an Australian Army veteran, also warned consumers to be careful about Chinese-made smartphones after Australian government departments ripped out security cameras made in the communist country.
“Who makes the hardware because that’s the big threat no one talks about in cybersecurity – hardware vulnerabilities,” he claimed.
“What’s really going on with devices that are made in China — they put a physical hardware chip; it’s a chip that’s physically built into the board in the device and has code inside that gives them access, so it’s a physical backdoor to the device.
The RBA Consumer Payments Survey found that mobile payments are growing at the expense of the Tap-and-Go card method, which has fallen from more than 70 percent to just over 60 percent over the past three years.
Mr. Breton explained that a traditional bank card is a safer way to pay, compared to paying with a mobile phone.
“When you get a click-and-go card, the card has no internet connection: You tap on it and basically all the information is done offline, and then the transaction is sent online,” Mr. Britton said.
Consumers have to tap their card into the appropriate place to make a payment, which Bretton said illustrates how a criminal with a skimming device would need to stand particularly close to a customer to obtain their credit card details from the chip.
“You have to be really close to the card and everyone knows that because how many times do you have to go do a tap and go and you’re not close enough?”
Since the start of the pandemic, cash payments have dwindled with only 13 percent of payments being made using banknotes or coins — halving in three years.
Aside from the risk of being robbed, cash may be the safer option.
Consumers have to tap their card in the correct place to make a payment, which Mr Bretton said illustrates how a criminal with a skimming device would need to stand particularly close to a customer to obtain their credit card details from the chip.
One in three payments are now made by tapping a smartphone onto a contactless device. New data from the Reserve Bank of Australia shows that younger consumers are particularly keen to use their mobile phone rather than a card to make instant payments.