iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus will have Apple Pay feature. Here you will come to know about how it works and how secure it is. Lets start with what is Apple Pay ?
Traditional magnetic stripe cards are way too old. Despite lacking much of security and prone to fraud, they survived a lot but now they are changing into either Chip and Pin cards or NFC based mobile payments. Apple Inc is the latest in the mobile payment segment. They announced Apple Pay at the launch event of iPhone 6 and 6 plus. Apple pay will replace your normal credit and debit cards with your phone.
Apple Pay is much better than your traditional magnetic strip cards when it comes to security. Some people may find it hard to digest but it true. The magnetic stripe cards work according to a process. Once you swipe the card on the at the cash counter, the POS copies and keeps all the information on the card. Than this collected information is sent to your bank for the verification purpose. Once verified by bank, the transaction gets completed. Transaction can’t be completed without any of the above the steps mentioned above.
Since your card number and other details remain constant, anybody from a cashier to a hacker can get hold of your card details and it can be used by them any where. By the time we come to know about these kind of fraud it too late. With Apple Pay other NFC based payment methods paying for things is still easy but the security is more tight. Instead of sharing your unique 16digit card number, Apple Pay will generate a random 16 digit number which will be valid only for that transaction only.
Even if any body gets that information it will be worthless for him because it expires after every transaction. No one can totally relay on software based solutions because they are not strong, they are can be hacked at point of time. Considering above facts Apple can never use a software based security solution.
So question is how they going to it? Apple came out with two part hardware based solution for it’s mobile payment. The first step is requires your finger prints. Most of the Apple customers using iPhone 5s will not find it different since they are using it in iTunes store to make purchases. It’s same thing a customer has to in order to use Apple pay at a retail store.
The second hardware solution is the the secure element installed in new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. Secure element is a built in chip in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus. All your financial information is stored on your this chip. It can only be accessed at the time of transaction through Apple Pay for generating a 16 digit number. It can’t be accessed at any point of time even if someone hacks into your phone they can never access the data stored in the secure element chip.
The secure element chip in iPhones is safe from hardware attacks as well. Secure element chip is equipped with a sensor which can any kind of hardware tampering and would shut it self down. It’s because of this secure element and NFC Apple pay can’t be used on previous generations of iPhones.
How to use it ?
As per the demo provided by CEO Tim Cook using Apple Pay will be super easy. All have to do is tap your phone at the credit card terminal, scan your finger on Touch ID and it’s done.
How it actually works ?
The NFC chip is located at the top edge of your device that’s why you’ll tap top of your phone at the terminal. After that, you’ll have scan your finger on the Touch ID. Once the finger print is verified then your phone will access the secure element chip to generate a random 16 digit number which will be a kind of mirror image of your real card number. This number is sent to NFC chip, which sends it to POS and process is followed in the usual manual.
In this entire process none of your personal information is stored in the Apple server, your iPhone and not even in retailer’s server. If you believe Apple, the company doesn’t keep any record for your transactions.
Apple Pay can be used at retail locations with NFC ready terminals. If you loose your iPhone you can go to iCloud.com and suspend all payments. If you run out of your battery than you’ll to charge your phone to use Apple Pay. It is bit too early to say that Apple Pay will replace your wallet.
How secure is Touch ID?
Touch ID was hacked within 48 hours of introduction but it still safer than normal 4digit pin. To hack Touch ID, a hacker will need to lift your fingerprint which is not that easy.