PayPass and PayWave have delivered exactly what we love the most - convenience. That convenience however comes at a heavy cost – our personal security.
There’s been extensive media coverage lately about how our PIN can be stolen by a mobile phone, but of course, it’s useless without the card. So, short of jumping you in the car park, would be thieves are turning to ‘Electronic Pickpocketing’ for a quick and covert way of stealing your credit card … without ever laying a finger on you or your wallet!
Our society has benefitted enormously from the advent of mobile phones but again, at what cost? Current Android mobile phones and new Apple iPhone 6 phones have NFC capability. That stands for Near Field Communication, the same technology used in Skylanders and Disney Infinity portals that enable the characters to communicate with their gaming consoles.
NFC technology, coupled with a freely available mobile app, turns any phone into an RFID reader. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, simply the micro chip technology used in credit cards and corporate IDs for ‘tap and go’ payments and electronic door access.
Mobile phones and tablets with RFID read capability simply need only to be placed in close proximity to you to effortlessly scan the details of all the cards in your wallet, purse or handbag, without ever laying a finger on them or you. If you think this is too easy, you’re right!
“It is an emerging trend. All you need to is buy a scanner off eBay and walk around the street,” Veda’s head of cybercrime Fiona Long said.
Common haunts of thieves armed with RFID readers are markets, shops, sporting events, public transport and airports. Places where people are commonly distracted and less alert due to the large number of people around them. In other words, places most of us go.
"Retailers and some of the businesses like financial institutions introduce practices, new innovations, without any regard to security. And then we get a run of crime and we say 'well, why are we mopping up after their poor practices,' to be quite frank,” Assistant Commissioner Victoria Police Steve Fontana said to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age recently.
"We won't walk away from investigating crime - that's our job - but don't make it that easy for people and then expect us to come and mop up” he said.
Thankfully, there’s now a secure gateway to the connected world, and it’s easier than you think! The introduction of ‘RFID Blocking Sleeves’ by Australian business RFID BLOCK is proving to be a cheap, easy and effective solution. The credit card sized ultra thin, flexible metal sleeves slide over your credit card before placing them into your wallet or pocket.
All RFID chips are then blocked from being read until the sleeve is removed. Simple and effective!
“When I first saw a Tap & Go demonstration the rep couldn’t understand why I thought this was going to be a dangerous technology. Then, after investigation, I discovered freely available information online that made me lose sleep before I started looking for a way to protect my credit and debit cards.” said Leigh Kostiainen owner of RFID BLOCK.
“Our real time demonstrations of how easy it is to scan a credit card and reuse it with my phone shocks participants every time. This is a real problem and until the banks secure the data stored on our cards thieves are going to scan and reuse your personal details without you ever knowing.” she said.
RFID chips are not in every single credit and debit card right now but all new cards issued have them. Passports will have them and so will virtually all other forms of personal ID in the near future. You simply won’t have a choice.
For more information please contact:
Phone: 0417 230 682
Leigh Kostiainen is the General Manager of RFID Block, which was started as a result of researching tap and go technology and discovering just how dangerous this convenience it to regular people. An entrprenuer, Leigh created the RFID Block brand and product range to provide a cheap and effective way for Australian's to protect their credit cards, debit cards and passports from identity theft and credit fraud via electronic pickpocketing.