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Android Phones Behind Tap-and-Go Thefts

Olivia Long - September 28, 2016 - 12:46 PM
Android Phones Behind Tap-and-Go Thefts
A group of criminals is believed to have used Android phones to carry out fraudulent tap-and-go purchases.

(CCM) — With the rollout of smart wallet technology came warnings that such a feature could expose the public to an increased threat of theft — and it looks like those predictions have come true. According to Europol's annual Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment report, law enforcement officials suspect that criminals are using Android phones to make fraudulent purchases, the BBC writes. So far, authorities are unsure of how and how often the breaches are being carried out, but they think that they may have an idea. "Several vendors in the dark net offer software that uploads compromised card data on to Android phones in order to make payments at any stores accepting NFC payments," the report notes. The reason that Android Pay is the assumed vehicle is simply because Apple blocks third-party apps using a device's NFC chip, whereas Google does not do the same on its Android phones.

The biggest issue with this brand of crime is that officials are unsure of how to instruct businesses to react. Normally, the protocol is to confiscate a card that is suspected to be used for fraud. However, smart wallets depend on a customer's cell phone for purchases, an item whose confiscation is much harder to justify if believed to be connected to criminal activity. As for Android users, experts do not yet recommend that they abandon Android Pay but that they, instead, exercise a fair amount of vigilance.

Image: © tanuha - Shutterstock.com
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