Google Wallet and Payments Vice President Osama Bedier has posted an open letter defending the safety of Google Wallet in response to last week’s revelation that the app’s PIN security feature may be hacked using a “Wallet Cracker” app.
Maintaining that Google Wallet offers numerous security advantages over plastic cards, Bedier said that any vulnerabilities to the PIN feature are due to misuse, rather than a flaw in design.
“Sometimes users choose to disable important security mechanisms in order to gain system-level ‘root’ access to their phone,” said Bedier. “We strongly discourage doing so if you plan to use Google Wallet because the product is not supported on rooted phones. That’s why in most cases, rooting your phone will cause your Google Wallet data to be automatically wiped from the device.
“Second, we also take concrete actions to help protect our users,” continued Bedier. “For example, to address an issue that could have allowed unauthorized use of an existing prepaid card balance if someone recovered a lost phone without a screen lock, tonight we temporarily disabled provisioning of prepaid cards. We took this step as a precaution until we issue a permanent fix soon.”
According to Bedier, Google also offers toll-free assistance in case a Wallet user loses his phone or someone manages to make an unauthorized transaction.
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