Friday, October 28, 2016

Online payments

Cybersecurity: the best of the week

In one of the last scenes of the dramatic comedy Inherent Vice (2014), based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, in order to restore the true identity of a spy that has been working for “the system”, what they return is not his identity card, it is his credit card. Bank cards changed the way we shop. Nowadays, the online payment systems can be the target of constant cyber attacks. 

Paypal is one of them. This week we found out that the company has repaired a bug in the authentication system. The error allowed the attackers to take control over the accounts. According to Henry Hoggart, from InfoSecurity, the cyber attackers would have just needed the username and password to generate a kind of chaos within the payment system.

Hoggart discovered the bug when he was trying to use PayPal. The researcher realized it when he was trying to make a payment at a hotel and he couldn’t receive the authentication. “The was no mobile signal and I couldn’t get the message”, the researcher explains. PayPal uses SMS messages to confirm that passwords and users are real. Apparently, after the incident, some cybersecurity experts felt sorry for the company and at the same time made fun of how easy their system could be undermine.

Clearly, if we don’t take the necessary precautions, online payments can become a headache. This week we have found out that the online store Prestashop has also been victim of a malware that could take control of its server. According to the researchers, it is a common error among users that work with this e-commerce to create passwords that are not safe enough and that are, consequently, easy to guess. Apparently, the theft done by this malware would affect other services and systems.

This week we have also found out that in 2020 there will be about 100 million purchases on augmented reality (AR). The Pokemon phenomenon seems to increase in the years to come. A research by Gartner confirms something that seemed obvious: children and their fever for mobile phones will get bigger. Another prediction in the study is that, in the same year, the 30% of web browsing sessions will be able to be done without a screen. It will not be longer necessary to use our eyes or hands, only voice interaction will be required.

Speaking of online payments, we can’t leave the Bitcoin apart. The Bitcoin has become the favourite currency for cybercriminals when it comes to commit extortions. Some financial institutions in London have begun to virtually store money to protect themselves from the attacks. Victims of cyber attacks still find more expensive the losses than the ransom they must pay.

As new ways of payment and online shops appear on the network, cyberthreats are going to happen more frequently. And we already know that the best way of avoiding risks is prevention.

Image source: Freeimages


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