Staying safe with tap-and-go

Issue 2 2021 Security Services & Risk Management

As the world struggles through a global pandemic that has, through the manner of its transmission, severely constrained human contact, so new ways have been found to do what we usually do – but without touching strange surfaces any more than we have to. Is it then any wonder that the use of tap-and-go payments has snowballed? After all, this is a payment method that is marketed as contactless, and can be applied not only to cards, but also many wearable devices.

At the same time, perhaps the only thing faster than a lockdown order is the speed at which cybercriminals latch onto new ways of parting the unsuspecting with their cash and data. Therefore, when it comes to tap-and-go functionality, security is of paramount importance. Moreover, security does not fall within the ambit of only one particular link in the value chain – banks, retailers and users have a part to play in safeguarding these devices and transactions.

“It is important for consumers to be educated around how to protect themselves and their data when using devices or wearables that offer tap-and-go functionality,” says Ilonka Badenhorst, managing executive at the Wireless Applications Service Providers' Association (WASPA). Her organisation is dedicated to ensuring that its members adhere to industry standards and rules which are monitored and regulated on a daily basis.

Even though enhanced tap-and-go functionality as well as billing through mobile providers can be safer and more convenient, that does not change the fact that the basic principles of security still apply. “It is the responsibility of the merchant to ensure the environment is safe for transactions to take place and make certain that the reader device is also secured. The banks’ (or in many cases now, mobile providers’) role lies in ensuring that valuable transactions are further protected by a PIN or two-step authentication – even those smaller purchases which usually don’t require a PIN.

She adds that users also have their part to play, notably by taking responsibility for the protection of their PINs, login details and passwords by keeping them secret and not giving them out to anyone.

“Just as WASPA is a self-regulating body that ensures its members are abiding by best practices, so individual shoppers need to self-regulate their security methods to ensure these are also the best possible practices.”

This will become more critical as wearables and direct mobile operator payments grow in popularity, she continues, and these devices – along with smartphones – are increasingly used to make tap-and-go payments.

The good news, notes Badenhorst, is that for additional security, tap-and-go transactions use randomised tokens that are sent via OTP to complete the transaction. Crucially, because these tokens are random, each one is unique to the individual transaction being undertaken. And for direct mobile operator payments, there’s no need for a credit card or banking details, it’s safe, secure and simple as long as you are careful and don’t click too quickly.

“Ultimately, tap-and-go payments as well as ‘add to mobile bill’ functionalities are safe, secure and convenient, but they are not necessarily infallible. Therefore, users need to always be vigilant when undertaking such transactions and accept their share of responsibility for safeguarding their cards, wearables, smartphones and opt-in data decisions,” concludes Badenhorst.




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Local manufacturing is still on the rise
Hissco Editor's Choice News & Events Security Services & Risk Management
HISSCO International, Africa's largest manufacturer of security X-ray products, has recently secured a multi-continental contract to supply over 55 baggage X-ray screening systems in 10 countries.

Read more...
Detecting humans within vehicles without opening the doors
Flow Systems News & Events Security Services & Risk Management
Flow Systems has introduced its new product, which detects humans trying to hide within a vehicle, truck, or container. Vehicles will be searched once they have stopped before one of Flow Systems' access control boom barriers.

Read more...
A standards-based, app approach to risk assessments
Security Services & Risk Management News & Events
[Sponsored] Risk-IO is web-based and designed to consolidate and guide risk managers through the whole risk process. In this article, SMART Security Solutions asks Zulu Consulting to tell us more about Risk-IO and how it came to be.

Read more...
Cybercriminals embracing AI
Information Security Security Services & Risk Management
Organisations of all sizes are exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI, in particular, can benefit their businesses. While they are still figuring out how best to use AI, cybercriminals have fully embraced it.

Read more...
Integrate digital solutions to reduce carbon footprint
Facilities & Building Management Security Services & Risk Management
As increasing emphasis is placed on the global drive towards net zero carbon emissions, virtually every industry is being challenged to lower its carbon footprint and adopt sustainable practices.

Read more...
Visualise and mitigate cyber risks
Security Services & Risk Management
SecurityHQ announced its risk and incident management capabilities for the SHQ response platform. The SHQ Response Platform acts as the emergency room, and the risk centre provides the wellness hub for all cyber security monitoring and actions.

Read more...
Eighty percent of fraud fighters expect to deploy GenAI by 2025
Security Services & Risk Management
A global survey of anti-fraud pros by the ACFE and SAS reveals incredible GenAI enthusiasm, according to the latest anti-fraud tech study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) and SAS, but past benchmarking studies suggest a more challenging reality.

Read more...
Deception technology crucial to unmasking data theft
Information Security Security Services & Risk Management
The ‘silent theft’ of data is an increasingly prevalent cyber threat to businesses, driving the ongoing leakage of personal information in the public domain through undetected attacks that cannot even be policed by data privacy legislation.

Read more...
Data security and privacy in global mobility
Security Services & Risk Management Information Security
Data security and privacy in today’s interconnected world is of paramount importance. In the realm of global mobility, where individuals and organisations traverse borders for various reasons, safeguarding sensitive information becomes an even more critical imperative.

Read more...
Proactive strategies against payment fraud
Financial (Industry) Security Services & Risk Management
Amid a spate of high-profile payment fraud cases in South Africa, the need for robust fraud payment prevention measures has never been more apparent, says Ryan Mer, CEO of eftsure Africa.

Read more...