Beware of Contactless Crime, an unexpected danger near you

Anyone with a credit card may need to be more careful because there has been a new crime: theft of credit card information. This kind of theft is done tactfully so that you are unaware of it, and it can cause huge damage to the credit card owner.

What is contactless crime and why do we need to know?

A symbol that looks like a Wi-Fi symbol is generally shown on your credit or debit card. It means that your card can make contactless payments. Just tapping it on a contactless-enabled checkout terminal likes tapping your subway card at the entrance of the subway platform.

Thus, your credit card information can be stolen easily by using a card reader if the fraudster is in an area close to you, such as on a crowded train or bus.

I think you can now imagine how your data can be stolen. Let’s see how does the contactless payment work so that you will understand more what its vulnerabilities are.

Contactless payment uses NFC technology (near-field communication) which offers a maximum speed for data transmission of up to 424 kbit/s within 4-10 centimeters. It provides a quick pairing between devices with low power consumption. NFC technology evolved from RFID (radio frequency identification) which uses radio waves to relay information.

The difference between RFID and NFC is the read distance. RFID technology can be used over long distances, so RFID tags are usually attached to objects such as products to track and identify those products’ specification. On the other hand, NFC technology is limited to short distances, so it is generally used to read credit card information and building access card, or to make a payment via mobile phone, etc.

NFC technology makes our life easier and more convenient, especially in payment.

However, NFC still has a vulnerability because it focuses on the speed of communication, so it does not require any authentication process.

This makes it easy for malicious people to steal your information.

How can we prevent data theft?

You should keep your credit card in a wallet that can block radio frequency communication, such as carbon fiber or aluminum wallets with RFID Blocking symbol.

In addition, you should always check your credit or debit card transactions. In case any abnormality occurs, you can be aware of it in advance and immediately suspend your card.

Technology is like the two sides of the same coin. Besides its benefits, you should also know its vulnerabilities, so that you can use it carefully.