As mobile commerce continues to generate hype, concerns regarding security abound. Electronic payments have always carried an inherent threat, most often exemplified in identity theft, but NFC-power mobile payments present new risks. While the companies developing NFC-enabled payment platforms insist that such systems are secure, there has yet to be any evidence backing these claims. Google is the first company to show just how serious they are when it comes to security by announcing that their Google Wallet product will be equipped with a fingerprint sensor.
After unveiling the plans for their payment platform, Google has been inundated with queries as to what the company is doing to protect users’ financial data. Along with conventional forms of protection, such as PIN codes, Google’s NFC-enabled smart phones are to be equipped with a chip that is specially designed to store financial data and protect that data in case of theft. The company claims that the information stored in the chip could only be accessed by the phone’s owner, but did not divulge any additional details as to how that would be accomplished when introducing their mobile wallet.
The fingerprint technology comes from NXP Semiconductors, AuthenTec and DeviceFidelity, a coalition of companies that have been in the security field for several years. These companies have been working on establishing a security infrastructure for the Android platform, which is expected to be in place as early as next year. The technology will be used with the phones to ensure that its owner is the only one with access to the precious financial information stored within.
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