Apple Pay could end data breach merry-go-round

It’s easy to be jaded and cynical these days when it comes to data breaches, and protecting your identity and sensitive financial information. Target, Home Depot, UPS, and Dairy Queen are just four of the more high-profile data breaches in the past year.

Apple Pay could change that, though. Had customers shopping at those retailers been using Apple Pay, attackers would not have been able to intercept or capture any useful information, and the “data breach” would be much less of a concern.

I wrote about the impact of Apple Pay on credit card transaction security in this blog post:

The retail data-breach epidemic highlighted by Target now has other famous victims, including UPS, Home Depot, and Dairy Queen. If you’ve used a credit card sometime in the past year or two, there’s a very good chance your information has been compromised or exposed by at least one of these data breaches. If you use Apple’s new Apple Pay system, though, such worries just might be behind you.

The current point-of-sale (POS) system carries a number of risks when it comes to processing credit card transactions. As we’ve seen with the data breaches mentioned above, the POS system itself can be compromised. There are also stories of restaurant workers using card skimmers, or card skimmers being surreptitiously attached to card swiping mechanisms at gas stations. Basically, any transaction that involves handing your physical card to someone, or reading the data from the magnetic stripe on the back of the card, could lead to your credit card data’s compromise in some way.

NFC (Near Field Communication) technology enables mobile devices to communicate wirelessly with a POS system, no physical card required. NFC itself isn’t new, but Apple Pay has better security, broader support, and the clout of the Apple brand behind it. In other words, Apple Pay might actually catch on, and make wireless payments with a mobile device mainstream.

The recent hack of nude celebrity photos, and the implications that has for iCloud security, might cause some to think twice about trusting credit card information on an Apple device. While it’s always prudent to exercise caution, Apple has security features in place that make a compromise highly unlikely—if not impossible.

Click here to read the full story at PCWorld: Apple Pay could put an end to data breaches.

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