Google wallet experiences technical prepaid credit card hitch

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

Google has been forced to suspend all prepaid credit card functions on their Google Wallet mobile app following a security flaw.

A discovery was made that unauthorised access to prepaid credit card balances can be granted on mobile devices. This allows anyone to get hold of and spend any balances on a prepaid card linked to the Google wallet.

The security scandal has sent Google into a frenzy as digital pick pockets can access the cash by tapping into an existing balance on a wallet simply by changing the settings.

The discovery was made by a blogger known only as The Smartphone Champ who showed that by going into the settings on an Android phone and blanking all the settings for a Google Wallet, anybody could gain access to a prepaid credit card linked with the device.

The Google Wallet is also under scrutiny for other security faults as one security company found a method for cracking a PIN for the wallet. Web security provider Zvelo suggested that the PIN for the wallet wasn’t stored in its ‘secure element’ within the Android operating system.

Google claims that this can be prevented if the phone owner activates a screen lock feature on their phone. This requires an additional PIN to be entered whenever the phone is activated. If the thief does not know that PIN, then they cannot get into the phone to get access to the prepaid cash.

Speaking to PC World, Zvelo researcher Joshua Rubin said; "Google Wallet is still significantly more secure than the credit card you use today, even with this vulnerability in the wild."

Prepaid credit cards are typically a safe method of using cash. It is not connected to any bank accounts and, therefore, in the event of theft there is no risk of ID fraud. There are a number of prepaid credit cards on the market and the Orange prepaid card is extremely popular.

They work much like a mobile phone pay-as-you-go card which allows users to put cash on to the card.

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