Google wallet goes down for the second time: Is your money in danger?

Google Wallet is a web based application that protects cards used to authorize NFC transactions by plucking the phone into a payment point. Its popularity was basically due to the ease of transactions through one’s phone without the need to carry credits cards which had a possibility of misuse by miscreants if stolen. The web based application remains safe even in cases of stolen phones because the operationalisation is PIN controlled and hence is safer than cards.

However, for a second time in a row, Google Wallet has been taken offline causing undue inconvenience to those who would have wanted to use the application. As per Google’s notice, this move is basically a maintenance requirement for a technical fix. The fix is basically directed at removal of trivial issue. While the fix may rid Google Wallet of its technical glitches, the restoration of public confidence may be a harder task. As has happened in the past, instances where some specialist software was capable of unearthing the phone user PIN that operated the Google Wallet software, and hence making users vulnerable to theft of their money and loss of their privacy.

While the possibility of such an attack still remains, one that Google is yet to solve, the details of cards that which have been registered with the Google Wallet are safe and not revealed as was thought earlier. The risk however is still large due to revelations of PIN via the software that lead to theft.

Another technical glitch or rather a flawed design issue in Google Wallet is the provision for resetting the PIN when the applications id deleted and installed again. This essentially makes it possible for miscreants to reset the PIN of any Google Wallet user and access all the card details and view the owner’s transaction history. While the case of electronic wallets may be similar to physical wallets in the sense that what’s stolen is stolen the level of sophistication of the former demands more security than from the latter. As is known by the NFC world, Google Wallet has many unresolved issues which are yet to be solved and so the possibility of more service suspensions is a high possibility.

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