Smart Card Attacks: How to Protect Your Cards

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Smart Card Protection

Completing a transaction, opening security systems, and achieving diverse other operations in this smart technology era may only require a simple smartcard swipe. Smartcards use has continued to gain popularity over the world, and security attacks have increasingly targeted owners and users. Information on technology-based use and applications is always available to keep you ahead of an attack.

Smartcards use microchip technology and secure authentication to provide security and have been relied upon to give the go-ahead for data transfer in a multitude of transactions. As robust as they seem, smart hackers have found various techniques of observing their operations aimed at gaining access to credentials, funds, and information contained in the microchips.

In this article, we aim to provide you with adequate information to ensure you protect yourself from hackers and the continued safe use of your smartcards.

Ensure Your System is Secure

If an attacker successfully gains access to a computer device connected with your smartcard, it’s super easy to complete transactions using your card. Most successful attacks result from unpatched software, or because you’re running something you shouldn’t.

The smartcard technology is of no effect once attackers gain access to your computer device because it’ll be easy for them to authenticate transactions, posing as you. They achieve this by copying digital certificates from your local cache if available or keying in your PIN at requests.

To protect yourself, ensure you don’t fall for click baits. Ensure the software you install is not compromised and regularly run anti-malware software on your computer.

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Keep Your PIN Safe and Secure

Smartcards are different from RFID cards, programmed to produce specific codes once activated. RFID cards are powered by a magnetic field and use radio frequency to transmit. Hackers can steal information from this kind of card by setting up RFID proximity readers and collecting IDs from unprotected cards.

Unlike RFID cards, smartcards use Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) for protection. They have a memory that can store information and employ a “challenge and response” system while communicating with a transaction terminal. It means, before completing a transaction, you would have to provide your PIN at the terminal.

Physically protect your PIN and don’t freely expose it to fraudsters.

Guard Against Hacks From Your Transaction Terminals

Hackers can stage attacks on your smartcard at transaction terminals. There’s a way to obtain credentials during communication between your card and payment terminals.

To enhance your safety precautions, remove your cards immediately upon completion of payment submission. Payment terminals should ideally be standalone machines, and not used to access other web services.

Owners of such terminals owe the responsibility to ensure software used on such terminals has an appropriate patch and support. Terminal operators can run anti-malware software periodically. It’ll reveal attempts at hacking card credentials.

Consider Using Mobile Phones Instead

Your phone can serve as a payment gateway for you. Setting up your device for mobile payment and connecting it to a smartcard is pretty straightforward. There’s a pool of apps you can download and use to handle your payments.

Using apps is safer than cards. Apps generate a one-time authentication code, used solely for the current transaction. The chances of losing this code to hackers are slim, and even if you did, it’d be of no use to them. Ultimately, a smartphone reduces the chances of having your card credentials stolen.

Most payment terminals equally accept scan payment using mobile phones, and you’re not limited by where your phone can serve.

Use Cards from Trusted Suppliers

Where you get a supply of your cards is an essential factor for consideration. Cases exist where one or two members of staff to companies attempt stealing card credentials. Some companies equally fail at providing adequate security measures for their cards.

Using smartcards provided by trusted establishments like Cardzgroup, for instance, will eliminate fears of losing your card credentials from company negligence.

Cards are easy to be mixed up. Fraudsters can smartly exchange your smartcard if you have no means of identifying it. Ensure your name is on your card and unscripted with high print quality and durability, such that at the expiration of your card and possible recycling, the inscription would still be clear.

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