Reasons why Apple Pay is more Secure (Part One):

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This is one of the most stimulating announcements at Apple’s latest launch event last week was the introduction of Apple Pay. It allows you to tap and pay for your day-to-day purchases without hunting through your credit cards, entering PINs or signing bits of paper. Now, mobile payments has been the talk of the time and has struggled to take off but, but with Apple Pay may have lastly aligned to deliver a user experience that is compelling. There is no need to mention that if Apple Pay does take off, it will be a stingy target for attackers, but Apple looks to have taken sensible measures to ensure it is as secure as possible. Here are the 4 reasons for why Apple Pay will be secure:

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There’s not very much for the attacker to steal: Like all mobile payments solutions, Apple Pay has introduced new points of attack, the handset itself. That’s always been a potentially big issue since phones with their numerous apps are notoriously hard to secure. To reduce these added risks, Apple has taken a number of steps. Firstly, the phone employs a tamper-resistant hardened security chip, called a Secure Element, to protect the secret codes used to make payments. This guards against physical attacks and malware on the phone and although no security measure is perfect the Secure Element is a big improvement. .

Strong biometric authentication: This is another strong security measure is the integration of Apple Pay with the Touch ID biometric authentication capability of the iPhone. If an attacker can’t steal the card information from the then the next best thing is to steal the phone and misuse it until it gets shut down. Touch ID has been around for a while as a way to unlock the phone now it is being used to authorize a payment off. The use of biometrics does occasionally have some challenges, some fingerprints just can’t be read and false positives do occur but isn’t a huge improvement over passwords.

Apple isn’t reinventing the wheel: Not everyone expected it, but Apple has based its service Apple Pay service on a set of well proven and standardized technologies rather than forge ahead with a proprietary approach. The maturity of the technology is good news for security and investments already made by merchants could now pay dividends. Apple Pay works on established payment ‘rails’, adopting technologies such as NFC, EMV that combine with the Secure Element to communicate with standard contactless point of sales (POS) devices in stores.

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A balance between customer experience and security: Balancing security against user experience is critical for the successful of any security venture and is even more critical for mobile payments. Tim Cook argued that firms in the mobile payments sector have focused too heavily on their own interests for years and not paid enough heed to customer experience. It’s necessary that everyone views mobile payments, or mobile commerce as it should be called, as a better way to buy more things and not simply another way to buy the same things with just using a different technology.

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Nick Barnett

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