Let’s give credit where credit is due but acknowledge that nothing is secure. iPhone included? Perhaps more secure than many Android devices, but Apple walks a fine line between security and privacy requirements, and convenience requirements. That’s what makes Touch ID so beloved, and likely Face ID will be better. We’ll see.
There are some crazy security problems the iPhone simply cannot solve.
I call your attention to credit cards. We all have them. We all use them. Apple Pay is a better alternative because it eliminates the middleman and adds security to convenience, but in the age of technological
enlightenment fragmentation we still need to carry a few credit cards.
My wife just bought a package RFID blocker cards on Amazon. These are little cards which hold credit cards and block RFID scanner thieves from swiping your cards while you walk through the mall.
Do you need them? Tim Barribeau:
We weren’t able to find any credible reports of actual, real-world RFID identity or credit card theft. It may be happening—it would be very hard to precisely identify if it were—but it’s certainly not widespread
I’m as paranoid about privacy and security as anyone not locked up for the offense of being overly paranoid, but even I questioned the purchase.
Not every credit card has an RFID chip. Even the Snopes rumor trackers had trouble tracking down anything related to wireless pickpockets with RFID scanners, but it makes for great TV and probably scares enough people that they buy RFID blocking wallets and cards. Like my wife.
Your iPhone can’t do much to protect the cards in your wallet, bag, pocket, or purse, but an RFID blocking credit card case which doubles as an iPhone case makes sense.
But that also doesn’t mean RFID-blocking wallets are bad—if you find a wallet you like that has it, it doesn’t make it a worse wallet. I’m partial to Articulate Wallets, which have RFID blocking built in. But if you use a tap card to pay for public transit, like a Clipper or Oyster card, chances are it won’t work behind an RFID shield.
The very idea that I would have to open my wallet and pull out a card that holds my credit card just to remain safe from RFID scanners bothers me a bit. Especially when the waiter at a restaurant disappears with my credit card and doesn’t come back for a few minutes.
Besides, in the U.S. credit card holders are not liable for anything stolen over $50 and good credit card companies often waive that. I don’t know why anyone uses a debit card because an account can be drained quickly with a stolen or lost card.
That brings me to the gas station where criminals sometimes stuff credit card skimmers into the pumps. You stick your credit card in to buy some gasoline and whatever is on your card gets scanned. Well, now there’s an app for that, but it doesn’t work on your iPhone. Skimmer Scanner is Android only.
What it does is simple. Ostensibly, the app scans the scanners to alert you of scammers.
What’s happening here is a constant game of Whac-a-Mole with thieves. We buy into one technology– credit cards– only to be required to buy another technology– RFID blockers– just to keep data from being stolen. Even the iPhone can’t solve stupidity, crazy criminals, or Whac-a-Mole.
I’m here to tell you that if everyone is out to get you, the a little paranoia is the right attitude to have.