Feeds

Home Office publishes bold do-nothing initiative

As you were, lads

Top three mobile application threats

The Home Office's approach to mobile payment security parrots exactly what the industry is already doing: publishing guidelines for a technology that nobody wants or ever intends to use.

Never let it be said that the UK Home Office doesn't move quickly: contactless payments from mobile phones have been dead in the water for less than a year and already the department is issuing guidelines on how to prevent thieves exploiting the technology, though really it's just endorsing what the industry has been doing for years.

Contactless payments are already a reality, as anyone who's received a Barclays Connect card in the last six months will know. Transactions less than a tenner can be completed by waving the card in front of a reader, while those of more than a tenner still require a PIN to be entered, which also happens on a random basis.

The new guidelines from the Home Office recommend the same thing apply to mobile phones with contactless technology built in, adding only that customers should be encouraged to report if their phone is stolen.

The mobile industry would love to see contactless payment tech built into mobile phones. Unfortunately, they disagree as to how it should be implemented to such an extent that it's unlikely ever to happen. The SIM industry feels very strongly that the SIM should handle everything, while the handset manufacturers think they should build in the technology. The operators don't care either way as long as they get control - which neither of the other groups is prepared to concede.

Perhaps in a decade or two something like Nokia Money might gain a contactless capability - Nokia is the biggest backer of the technology - but until then we'll stick to plastic cards for most things.

But that's not going to stop the Home Office consulting and publishing guidelines, promoted with quotes from the UK Cards Association and Jack Wraith, who apparently represents the mobile phone industry.

The latter gains his credibility from being chair of the Mobile Industry Crime Action Forum (MICAF), an impressively-named group but one we know little about: we do know that Nokia and the other big manufacturers pulled out of MICAF when it became clear the finger was being pointed in their direction, but the Forum declined to provide us with a membership list, or confirm which operators were still signed up.

So we're not clear who exactly Jack is representing when he says "The mobile phone industry welcomes the support of the government and police in the ongoing fight to prevent criminals from benefiting from mobile phone theft," though to be fair the industry is unlikely to be dead set against the idea.

So we now have guidelines endorsed by an individual of unknown provenance and aimed at an industry which doesn't exist, recommending that we do exactly what we're already doing.

It makes one proud to be British. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.