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:

Protecting yourself from DDoS attacks
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
A DDoS attack, when an attacker floods a server or network with Internet traffic to prevent users from accessing connected online services, can be costly in both earnings and reputation.

Read more...
Crossing the chasm
Editor's Choice News Security Services & Risk Management Training & Education
Industry reports suggest that in the next ten years, millions of jobs could go unfilled because there simply are not enough people to fill them.

Read more...
Records in place now, not later
Editor's Choice Security Services & Risk Management
It is important, after an incident, to have records in place as soon as possible. Too often the matter is left for the day when the company is going to court, or a disciplinary hearing is scheduled.

Read more...
Considering cloud downtime insurance?
Arcserve Southern Africa Cyber Security IT infrastructure Security Services & Risk Management
Byron Horn-Botha, business unit head, Arcserve Southern Africa, reveals three vital steps that you must consider to ensure business continuity before you buy insurance.

Read more...
Real-world sustainability and innovation
Axis Communications SA Security Services & Risk Management
Technology such as smart city surveillance systems, in combination with video analytics that use artificial intelligence to analyse, prioritise and make decisions, enables cities to use resources as efficiently and sustainably as possible.

Read more...
The $600 000 question
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management Financial (Industry)
Usman Choudhary, chief product officer of VIPRE Security Group, advises companies to do the basics to protect themselves before looking for cyber insurance.

Read more...
Axora launches Metals and Mining Innovation Forecast 2022/23
IT infrastructure Security Services & Risk Management
Miners making super-slow progress towards digital transformation despite universally designating it ‘critical to survival’, with cybersecurity one of the concerns hindering progress.

Read more...
Putting safety at the heart of the city
Security Services & Risk Management
While no device or solution in the world will change the ongoing threat to women, there are smart innovations that can make the city safer.

Read more...
The next generation of Point of Sale
Commercial (Industry) Security Services & Risk Management Products
New digital point-of-sale (POS) platforms are gaining traction, which means payment providers and investors should take note.

Read more...
Define your strategy for agility and resilience
Security Services & Risk Management
The effects of the global pandemic have permeated every facet of our professional and personal lives. How we approach work and how organisations view business fundamentals have changed irrevocably.

Read more...