Posts Tagged ‘contactless’

Growing concern that Marks and Spencers' contactless payment terminals takes money from customer accounts without their permission

 

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broke the news today that certain Marks and Spencer (M&S) customers are experiencing issues with the use of contactless payment cards at stores in the UK.

BBC reporter Bob Howard (Radio 4’s ‘Money Box’ programme) appears to have been approached by a number of M&S customers who claim that payments have been taken from their RFID enabled / contactless cards, whilst still in their wallets but nonetheless in proximity to ‘point-of-sale’ terminals.

A BBC spokesperson said,

“Cards are supposed to be within about 4cm of the front of the contactless terminal to work.

But some customers say payments have been taken from cards while in purses and wallets at much greater distances.”

M&S remains (perhaps understandably) adamant that its payment processes are robust and entirely fit for purpose.   However, one customer told the BBC…

” I put my card into the reader and the assistant was asking whether or not I wanted cash back.

“Before I could answer, the transaction came up as complete and the till issued a receipt so I hadn’t put in a pin at all at that stage. I queried it with an assistant and she looked rather puzzled and looked at the receipt and compared it to my card and realised that the numbers didn’t tally.”

There have also been reports of  ‘double charging’ , where two contactless payment cards are charged simultaneously – however, the jury is currently out on whether this is a real problem or not.  Elsewhere amongst Britain’s press (n.b. The Daily Mail, The Telegraph) are articles reporting similar themes, and one claim that we have heard about is where a customer would like to make a cash payment for goods at the payment terminal, only to find that their item has already been checked out.  What may be happening in such instances, is that the person wishing to make a cash purchase has moved sufficiently close enough to the payment terminal for a contactless credit, debit or store card on their person to activate – and thus complete the sale.

Some will take the view that this is an invasion of privacy, although perhaps the overarching theme is merely that our choice as customers is being eroded, (i.e. our ability to determine exactly how, and when, we pay for goods).  However, by keeping our contactless payment cards safe within RFID protective sleeves we can take control quite easily – dictating when, and how, we are charged for goods – making payments on our terms.

To purchase low-cost RFID shielding sleeves for your contactless cards click here.

More on this extraordinary development can be found at the following link:

bbc.co.uk/news/business-22545804

https://contactless.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/appsdesigner_brief_page4.png?w=150&h=300&h=299

Above image: Copyright © 2012 RFID Protect

The Australian edition of Secure Business Intelligence magazine, (or SC to those in the know), has uncovered evidence of a new Android app capable of skimming customer data from contactless payment cards!  Earlier this year Thomas Cannon (ViaForensics) successfully demonstrated (on ITN Channel 4 News) a prototype app for NFC smartphones that could e-pickpocket the victims’ bank card account number, expiry dates and obtain sufficient details to enable purchases with a major online store.

It seems that Developer Thomas Skora, (Integralis), has taken Canons’ concept one step further – his new app called ‘paycardreader‘ not only skims card details, but it is claimed this tech can also access, “…transactions and merchant IDs” when tested against certain PayPass Mastercards.

Interviewed by SC during an awareness-raising event for the security industry,

Skora stated that his app was, “…only for technical demonstration”.

SC magazine suggests that the app, “…was available for download on the Google Play Store and on GitHub” although we were unable to track it down and suspect that it has since been removed for fear this technology will fall into the wrong hands.

Mindful that in Thomas Cannon and Thomas Skora we now have two independent app developers that have successfully produced a functional ‘e-pickpocket’ app for smartphones, important questions need to be asked of our security professionals. For instance, are there more developers working on similar applications we wonder? And just how long before organised crime produces its own version?  After all, it could be argued that the prospect of a ‘contactless’ theft – one where the victim doesn’t even realise they’ve been ‘mugged’ – will be an attractive proposition for career criminals; and therefore is likely to be an idea worthy of their time and investment.

Learn more about e-pickpocketing at: www.e-pickpocket.com

Or watch Thomas Cannon in action here: www.rfidprotect.co.uk/video6.html

Original source:  http://www.scmagazine.com.au/News/305881,android-app-steals-contactless-credit-card-data.aspx

Everyone’s favourite daytime TV show This Morning featured a selection of RFID Protect products during a slot about credit card fraud and the fast-growing issue of ‘e-pickpocketing‘.  During a five-minute feature, presenter Phillip Schofield showcased RFID Protect’s latest Leather Multi-card Holder, which has been designed in collaboration with crime-reduction officers at Victoria Police, Australia and is new to the UK.

Mr Schofield was visibly shocked at the ease by which information can be ‘skimmed’ from a contactless credit or debit card; during a demonstration given by Thomas Cannon (Director of Research and Development) at American company ViaForensics.

First shown on Thursday 10th May, 2012 the programme can be viewed again for a limited period, at http://www.itv.com/thismorning/ and a direct link to their Crime File discussion area for this particular issue can be found at: http://www.itv.com/thismorning/life/crime-file-120510/

A spokesman for RFID Protect said,

“…we’re absolutely thrilled that ITV came to us for guidance on the whole issue of ‘e-pickpocketing’, and what members of the public can do to better protect their contactless bank cards.  Working with the team on This Morning has been a great pleasure; it’s great to receive so much positive feedback about our work and products.”

Adding,

“…ITV has very kindly agreed to provide viewers with a direct link to our products from their main website.  This will go live shortly, but in the meantime our full range of RFID shielding kit can be purchased on-line at: http://www.rfidprotect.co.uk/products.html

TWENTY million Brits are at risk of having their bank details stolen by electronic pickpockets, a Sun investigation has revealed!

Journalist Nick Francis of The Sun newspaper has spearheaded a major investigation into the potential for contactless crime, taking the work of RFID Protect to a national audience.  In an interview with RFID Protect spokesman [David Maxwell] The Sun revealed:

“…David is a former cop and director of RFID Protect, a firm specialising in products which combat RFID fraud.  It has been a big problem in America for a while and now it is getting to be a problem over here. It is a difficult thing to put statistics on because it’s hard to tell how your card details were skimmed.”

“If you ring your bank they will point out there are many ways to lose your card ID, which is true, and by the time you find out you’ve been skimmed it is too late to work out how.

“But the technology is out there and in the wrong hands.”

Source: The Sun (News International)

Date: Sunday 29 April 2012

Original author: Nick Francis

You can read the full story at this link:  “Robbed by Radiowave”  The Sun Newspaper (News International)  or get protected from contactless crime at: RFID Protect (click here)

Update | 05 May 2012:  This story has now captured the attention of numerous media agencies, and continues to expand its reach on a daily basis.  We are aware that the following players have run either similar features during the course of the past week, or intend to do so before long:

The Daily Mail

This is Money

DNA Daily News Analysis

This Morning (ITV.com)

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog then you’ll no doubt be familiar with RFID technology – and now it appears that our cousins in Australia are waking up to some of its potential vulnerabilities.  Linking automatically to a retailers ‘point-of-sale’ terminal (but without the need for a verification PIN or signature) makes Radio Frequency ID (RFID) payments quite different to normal transactions using a swipe card, cash or personal cheque.

The ability to process transactions rapidly means that RFID e-payment solutions are very attractive to retailers too, although it has been reported in the media that a growing number of consumers in Australia are not entirely convinced by industry claims that these ‘contactless’ systems are 100% foolproof!

ABC News 24 recently reported that, “…There’s been some very famous attacks where people have been reading passport numbers and other serial numbers from RFID-enabled cards. Proximity cards, such as the one that you use to get into your secured building, those have been cloneable for quite some time.”

Whilst Australia has been relatively slow to adopt ‘contactless’ systems – we’ve learned that as of March 2012 it’s going to be a case of ‘full steam ahead’ with major stores keen to deploy ‘tap-and-pay’ payment options.  More likely to ‘crack a mental’ than crack open the Champagne – some quarters are arguing that the roll-out of contactless e-commerce is fast becoming a headache for those involved.

A spokesperson at ABC News 24 urged caution reporting that, “…one of the first attacks that we’re most likely to see being used by criminals are probably relay attacks. When you have your phone in your pocket or your card in your wallet and attackers work out a mechanism to activate the card in your pocket, relay the transaction somewhere else, maybe not even in the country and perform a transaction at a terminal by another party, stealing money from that particular account. That’s probably the most likely attack that we’ll see occurring in the future.”

Here’s the link: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-30/consumers-warned-over-tap-and-pay-technology/3801162

The following link will take you to the RFID Protect webpage where any nervous Australians can get protected now! http://www.rfidprotect.co.uk/products.html

On 8th December 2011, news broke that US police officials had been deployed to North Miami Beach Senior High School to investigate the alledged theft of 2,000 student ID cards.  According to a local media outlet, these ID cards contained sensitive personal information on the holder – including details of each students’ social security number.

Commentators on the situation have said, “…it’s very concerning because it has our social security numbers [on the ID card].”

Some will suggest that this is an excellent example of how any ‘foolproof’ system, (not least one that’s designed to improve security for its participants), is only 100% effective until the moment when something goes wrong.

Expect the unexpected – these are words to live by.

The original article can be found at:  BayPay Forum

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And the trend continues…

According to Alien Vault Labs, the U.S. Defense Department ‘Common Access Cards (CAC)’ and Windows smart card are now being targetted by a new variant of the already infamous Sykipot malware.  Re-engineered in March 2011, this new variant has ‘raised the bar’ – with dozens of attack samples evident over the past 12 months.  The malware would appear particularly interested in government agencies, and a view has been expressed elsewhere that China may be behind this development – since a main goal in these attacks is to access information specifically from the US defense sector.  (Smart cards are in common use across the US Defense sector as a means of identifying employees and allowing them access to facilities or services.)

Alien Vault Labs explain how these attacks work by stating, “…the attackers use a spear phishing campaign to get their targets to open a PDF attachment which then deposits the Sykipot malware onto their machine. Then, unlike previous strains, the malware uses a keylogger to steal PINs for the cards. When a card is inserted into the reader, the malware then acts as the authenticated user and can access sensitive information. The malware is controlled by the attackers from the command & control center.”

You can read the full report here: Alien Vault Labs

Once again this news adds weight to the growing argument that as encryption systems improve those of a criminal disposition will raise their game accordingly.  There’s probably nothing to worry about for the moment (unless you’re in the US defense industry?), but just to be on the safe side then why not avoid potential mayhem and consider a low-cost ‘anti-skim’ sleeve for that new ‘contactless’ credit or debit card; such as those that can be purchased from RFID Protect.

In early November 2011, BBC News services reported that malware attacks on UK Android Apps, and smartphone fraud in general had risen by a staggering 800% since this time last year!!!!  Today we learn from The Telegraph newspaper that,

“…the majority of Britons are scared of ‘wave and pay’, [and with] only a small minority of people keen to use their mobiles like wallets. [Many] fear that ‘wave and pay’ apps will lead to greater security breaches”. 

Emma Barnett, Digital Media Editor for the Telegraph elaborated stating,

“…[the] Intersperience study, which polled 1,000 people as part of a larger project entitled ‘Digital Selves’, found that phone hacking fears are dominating consumers’ security concerns when thinking about adopting new mobile wallet payment systems.”

A spokesperson for Paypal recently intimated that mass adoption of contactless payments for products using mobile phones, or smart credit cards is at least three years away.  This is perhaps not surprising given that very few UK retailers offer this type of payment option to their customers.

Meanwhile, UK company RFID Protect has announced its intentions to offer a solution for smartphone users wary of this technology.  It comes in the shape of a simple App that will be launched mid 2012, and made available to download from www.rfidprotect.co.uk

So before too long, iPhone and Android users will have the option to disable their NFC (Near Field Communication) feature and in the words of a RFID Protect spokesperson, “MAKE YOURSELF INVISIBLE’ to would be phone hackers, e-pickpockets and e-payment skimmers.  Apparently, there’s a timer function too – so users get to determine the amount of time their phone can be read by third parties.

Read the full Telegraph article at:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8825183/Majority-of-Britons-are-scared-of-wave-and-pay.html

First published on the: 14 October 2011