Mobile Wallets—How I Make Mobile Payments Securely

Some say there will be a day when the wallet you carry in your pocket or purse will become obsolete. The plan is to eliminate all our credit cards, store cards, and IDs and use our mobile phones as our primary means of commerce and identification. The technology behind mobile wallet or mobile POS (point of sale) basically turns your smartphone into a smart debit or credit card. Soon you will be able to pay for almost anything via your mobile device.

When mobile wallets and mPOS become more common, thieves will certainly look for ways to empty them. For instance, it’s possible for attackers to use technologies that allow them to “eavesdrop” on your payments or steal and transmit your credentials by extending the range of the wireless signal. Your data may also be manipulated or corrupted by an attacker.

So how do I conduct safe mobile payments?

Pay attention to your credit card statements to check that you are paying for what you actually purchased.

Only download mobile payment applications from a reputable app store. Check user reviews of the app and make sure to read to app’s privacy policy on what data of yours it is accessing and sharing.

Don’t do any mobile transactions over unsecured Wi-Fi connection. It’s much more secure to use your mobile data network.

Keep your mobile software current. This includes the latest updates for your operating system, mobile browser and mobile security software like McAfee Mobile Security.

Using your phone to pay for things simply by tapping it or swiping it at a store’s checkout terminal may sound like a convenience of the future, but it’s already here and you need to be prepared for this.


Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)