Working to Get Shoppers to Trust Phone Security

3/22/2011

By Laura Mortkowitz
 
Financial data isn’t even safe at the ATM these days, but according to Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smart Card Alliance, credit card information on mobile phones should be secure.

For some, the idea of carrying banking information in an electronic device that can be hacked is unnerving. But Vanderhoof said all information regarding a user’s credit card is in a secure, external component of the phone, such as the SIM chip or micro SD card. These components are placed into a phone with security measures in place.

“That information can’t be intercepted, can’t be copied or duplicated, and will only work in that phone,” he said.

Robert Rosenberg, president of Mountain Lakes-based Insight Research Corp., said he doesn’t think the low-cost transactions mobile payments will likely be used for are going to be worth it for people looking to break in. “Will kids screw with it? Absolutely,” he said. “It’s simply another way to test yourself, if you’re a hacker. But it’s probably not a way for professionals to make a living.”

Paul Rohmeyer, a professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, who specializes in information security, is a pragmatist. He expects mobile payments, like any new technology, to have some unexpected issues. With the NFC technology, the ease with which people can activate a connection could be cause for concern. Rohmeyer is concerned that a way to “fool a device” into accepting a connection could pop up.

“We can’t have trust be the default condition,” he said. “There has to be some sort of limitation of who we connect to and when.”

Before mobile payment programs roll out in their entirety, those companies involved will have to make sure very little can go wrong. More so than any other new technology, a problem with mobile payments could be disastrous because they involve what is typically held close: money.

Working to Get Shoppers to Trust Phone Security

NJ Biz Magazine