Android app steals contactless credit card data

By Darren Pauli on Jun 22, 2012 11:49 AM
Filed under Security

PayWave thief uploaded to Google Play store.

A German penetration tester has discovered an Android application capable of siphoning credit card data from contactless bank cards.

The app, dubbed paycardreader, will skim card numbers and expiry dates, along with transactions and merchant IDs, and was successfully tested against a German PayPass Mastercard.

Developer Thomas Skora, senior consultant for Integralis, said it also worked with Germany’s popular GeldKarte.

The app required either an NFC-enabled (near field communications) handset, or an attached near field communications transmitter.

Skora said the app was “only for technical demonstration” to demonstrate how data could be swiped from contactless cards.

The paycardreader was launched at Integralis Security World 12 in Germany and was considered still unstable.

It is available for download on the Google Play Store and on GitHub.

Contactless cards have previously been proven hackable by security researchers.

Aukland University researcher and veteran cryptography boffin Peter Gutmann demonstrated how data could be skimmed from credit cards such as PayWave and PayPass with off-the-shelf kit purchased for around $10 from eBay. 

He said last month while the weaknesses in the cards was concerning, it was not an effective means to harvest lots of credit card numbers, but it could be attractive for unskilled users for low-scale fraud.

 
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