Potential Threat to Square Card Readers

Technology blog and news source, Engadget stated that Square Readers can be compromised by hackers to steal credit card information on Monday (Aug. 3).

Engadget elaborated on the ability of hackers to easily disable the encryption of the device which turns the Square device into a “tiny, portable card skimmer,” as the site stated. With Square the possibility of cyberthieves recording the signal transmitted by the card after swiping with the magnetic strip is also present. This presents the chance that a card could be charged for items without any consent of the real holder’s approval.

Square, in its defense, stated that an altered reader will not in fact work with the company’s app and that a stored swipe cannot in fact be handled more than once. That may still leave open some avenues for theft, Engadget stated, with the chance that a hacker can construct software that in fact masquerades as an official site but in turn hides a skimming code.

The magnetic stripe decoding threat will be alleviated by country wide adoption of chip-and-pin solutions, the company said.

Square responded to potential security threat allegations by stating: “It should not surprise us that a system using essentially the same technology as cassette tapes is vulnerable. That is why major credit card companies, lenders and businesses are now embracing new, more secure, authenticated payment technologies.”


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