How secure is public transport?

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Have you considered how secure the public transport you might be using every day is?


Public transport is a massive part of the British economy. In the financial year ending March 2016 there where an estimated 5.04 billion passengers using bus services.

With so many people making use of public transport it was always inevitable that technology would be used to smooth out the process of buying and presenting tickets.

Oyster cards have been around for a long time in London, but increasingly the use of contactless credit cards or NFC on smartphones is being used to buy, store and track travel and tickets.

Whilst this is extremely convenient for the average man on the street it does present something of a problem to companies looking to utilise contactless payments, namely: how do you store that data?

When you simply bought a ticket from the bus driver you weren’t handing over any data, not even your name, but now you’re handing over heaps of valuable data: potential including a detailed itinerary of your daily movements.

Mark James, ESET IT Security Specialist, explains that all data is valuable and any amount of data about you could be dangerous in the wrong hands.

“With so much of what we do on a daily basis being controlled digitally even the smallest aspects like, traveling, often get overlooked when it comes to security.

“As simpler methods are embraced to make life easier when traveling around, our mobile phones or multi-function cards seem like a good idea.

“But if/when they become compromised it opens up those “easy” systems for abuse, in some cases it may seem like a plus point like free travel but what’s happening in the background is the real concern.

“If the systems are infected with ransomware, then access to other systems where credit card data may be stored could also be at risk.

“Not to mention of course the regular data that people often overlook or just aren’t concerned about: names, addresses, DOB, security questions and possibly answers. All or any of this may be used at a later date to obtain more data or attempted identity theft.”

Do you use contactless cards or apps to pay for your travel? Do you worry about how that data is stored or used? Let us know on Twitter @ESETUK

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