CYBER BLOG: Cashless Society

CYBER BLOG: Cashless Society

 

More and more we are moving towards the once unthinkable cashless society. The rise of contactless payment cards, websites like PayPal and wearable technology integrating apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay are changing the way in which we transact with retailers.

The phenomenon of cashless is stretching across all age groups. I heard recently of a lady in her 80’s paying for a new bike with her Apple Watch. To add to this challenger bank, Starling, has launched a new account for 16 and 17 year olds which will allow account holders to pay with their Garmin or FitBit watches.

The emergence of this technology and new ways to spend our hard-earned money mean that we now, more than ever, need to take the security of our technology seriously. The major companies have put a lot of effort in to making these methods of payment as secure as possible and some great work has been done, but us as consumers need to ensure that we keep our devices secure. Losing your phone or watch is no longer an inconvenience, it could also mean the loss of money from our bank account, and not just to replace the lost device.

In addition to this risk, it is imperative that we are constantly applying any new updates to apps and operating systems. Phones and watches are now little computers that we carry around with us everywhere we go, and these are targets for hackers. The latest updates don’t always give you new fancy features but often fix security holes that have been discovered. You wouldn’t walk around waving your credit card around waiting for someone to steal it, failing to update apps and devices is basically the same thing.

We also need to be mindful of the apps that we are installing on our devices. Can these apps be trusted? What permissions are the requesting? The only place that we should be downloading apps is from the genuine app store for the operating system that we are using. Hackers are constantly trying to trick people in to downloading what looks like a genuine application but is in fact malware that is looking to steal data from users.

I have no issue with the rise in the cashless society, but we do need to make sure that everyone is aware of the risks that we face.

For more advice on cyber security, contact [email protected]

Gerry Grant, Chief Ethical Hacker

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