NFC (near-field communications) risks
|f you are using a contactless payment card or your smartphone to pay for items, you should know that these devices use a technology called near-field communications that can be monitored and captured remotely. Of course, the person intercepting your payment data almost always needs to be close by, usually within a few feet, and most of the time you can spot someone just oddly lingering next to the checkout registers. But at holiday time shoppers can surround you. So if you are using a contactless payment system, look around you first, and then insist that anyone standing right next to you move several feet away before you use your phone to make your purchase.
Chip reader bypass attacks - Banks and credit card companies have finally started rolling out cards with embedded chips that make stealing and duplicating their data more difficult. But they still have magnetic strips for all those machines still out there without a chip reader, and card readers still read magnetic strips because many cards do not yet have chips.
Cybercriminals will disable a chip reader or cause it to display an error, forcing you to swipe your card using your magnetic strip data. If a payment device has been enabled to read chips, but keeps giving you an error message, you may want to consider an alternate form of payment.
Track your bank and credit card statements
Look at your bank and credit card statements online during heavy shopping periods, rather than waiting for your statement to arrive in the mail weeks later. The quicker you spot unauthorized transactions the faster you can get the resolves and limit your exposure.
2. Protect your purchases
The last thing you want to do is spend hours and money finding that perfect gift, only to have someone else walk off with it. Here are a few things you should know
Don't leave stuff in your car. - Even if it's locked in the trunk. Here's why. Electronic car key fobs that allow you to remotely lock and unlock your car, open the trunk, or even start it and run the heater or air conditioning are now standard issue. They might be convenient, but they aren't necessarily secure.
Your key fob and your car's electronic security system both use algorithms to generate a random lock code. When the devices are synched together, and you press on your fob, the numbers match and the car locks or unlocks itself. Unfortunately, these devices sometimes get out of synch. Manufacturers solve that problem by letting the devices store a rolling set of numbers, called a rolling code scheme, so that if the numbers don't match right away it can search for other codes looking for a match. It doesn't matter what you drive - with few exceptions, most manufacturers all pretty much use the same concept, and in certain cases, may be vulnerable to this type of attack.
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