Feeds

Google tightens its Wallet after PIN reset goof

Now only proper hackers can steal punters' dosh

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Google has started provisioning electronic wallets again having fixed the more trivial security flaw in its product - though determined hackers will still get in.

Google suspended the supply of Wallets after it emerged that simply clearing the application data resulted in the protecting PIN being reset, so now anyone trying to extract pre-paid credit from a stolen handset will have to root the phone and break the encryption on the PIN instead.

But that process shouldn't take more than a few minutes, and was demonstrated by zvelo last week. However, it does require specialist software and a bit of knowledge including the best way to root the handset, so Google's fix will prevent simple theft and the electronic wallet remains a good deal more secure than its physical counterpart.

Google continues to make the rooting process more complicated, and some handsets automatically factory-reset the device on rooting (allowing developers the freedom to install their own low-level code, while protecting data) but in an extended blog post zvelo discusses how vulnerabilities continue to make Google Wallet accessible, and argues that Android's architecture is fundamentally flawed.

Google reckons no one suffered from the temporary weakness in the PIN protection of the Wallet, but that's probably due to the tiny number of punters actually using the product. A thief asking to bonk a Google Wallet-enabled phone on the till would probably attract more attention than he'd like, and nicking a real wallet is still a lot more profitable.

The trivial flaw shouldn't have existed, but Google deserves credit for doing everything it could to forestall, and fix, the problem. More concerning is the damage done to the already marginal public confidence in the security of wireless NFC payment systems. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.