Credit Card Reader? You should approach all technology and all software as if it were not secure. You will be making a mistake if you approach anything with complete trust when it comes to credit card. Skepticism is not just for the negative people; it is a basic survival instinct and has just as much place in our lives as fear, love and the will to reproduce. A mobile credit card reader is a new piece of technology, which means that you should be even more skeptical about its use.
What is a mobile credit card reader?
It is a device that you use with your mobile phone. They work in a number of ways, but the basic idea is that it takes down credit information in a secure manner and allows a person to pay for something via a mobile phone. This is different to entering the details into a device manually. It may actually be more secure than typing the information into a website, as the data cannot be read by key-logging software.
Key-logging software is software that records every button that you press on your mobile phone. It is clearly obvious when you are entering credit card details because it consists of a long string of numbers. A card reader would mean that no key-logging report would expose any credit card information.
Was a mobile credit card reader inevitable?
As time goes by, we are going to see more and more methods of payment. There are still theorists that believe paper or coin money will one day be a thing of the past. That physical money will be a novelty item for when you visit third world countries. With the rise in the popularity of mobile phones, a method of paying via a mobile phone was also inevitable.
Are mobile phones even secure?
Actually, no they are not. The popularity of the Smartphone is the biggest reason why it is less secure now than it was a few years ago. As something becomes more popular, it is often attacked by people who wish to take advantage of it. For example, the Apple Mac is not physically any more secure than a Windows computer, but there are less viruses and malware for the MAC because fewer cyber terrorists are making them.
Any and all Smartphones are now more vulnerable, because their popularity has made them the target of millions of hackers and cyber terrorists around the world. This means that your Smartphone, be it based on Windows, IOS or Android, is not even less secure than ever. This also means that every app and all the software you put on it is at risk too. Does this mean that your money will be stolen if you use a mobile? It is not a certainty no, as people pay money via their Windows desktop computers and they do not get robbed (unless they are silly with their security).
The merit of PCI security standards
These are the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The council is made up of the biggest card producers in the world and they are the ones that come up with rules for security. It is in their interest to create standardized rules for this sort of thing, so that they do not lose money through fraud and theft. As a byproduct of this, it also means that people lose less money too.
The PCI standards are followed by all the commercially available swipe cards that are created by the larger and established companies. They are often the first ones to brag about their PCI compliance. The compliance plans are quite comprehensive and do have a fair amount of diligence in their application.
Data encryption is also a part of card readers
The standard and powerful encryption protocols are a good thing when it comes to protecting financial information. It is also better to encrypt information as soon as possible, which is why the readers encrypt the data before it is even sent to the phone. This is a good thing because it gives criminals less opportunity to steal the information (they have a smaller window of opportunity).
If the data is encrypted before it reaches the phone, then even a virus infected phone will still have to decrypt the financial information. This is well beyond a lot of hackers abilities, so your credit card reader would just be handing unusable information onto the hackers, ergo, the card swipe system is secure.