The humble gift card is actually just another attack vector

gift card fraud
Image by | Mix and Match Studio/

The gift card. The perfect choice of gift in many ways. You buy a few, you send them to loved ones, they choose the gift they really want. And you get scammed.

It is a depressing thought that there is nothing that is connected that is truly safe (now even physically unplugging devices is not enough).

There are several ways that fraudsters can make money out of a gift card, from using stolen credit and reselling the card, to a gift card being tampered with in-store.

While a gift card is not quite what you would define as an IoT device, it highlights the fact that anything that has value online is open to attack. Therefore, the fact that we are talking about it must be a good thing.

If we can do something about vulnerabilities in the gift card market, then we can begin to do something about the larger IoT market, that includes the now-famous connected kettle, intelligent toothbrush and friendly fridge.

As the digital transformation of everything we do accelerates, we need to keep ahead or at least keep up with vulnerabilities. And with new technologies such as 5G beginning to get real traction, it is now more urgent and important than ever.

Education is at the heart of the solution. To convince kettle and fridge manufacturers of the risks of not protecting their devices must begin in earnest.

The fact that something as nice, as humble as a gift card can, effectively, become an attack vector for fraudsters, one that makes you put your head in your hands in a ‘where will all this end’ kind of way is not a good thing. Fraud of any kind can wreak havoc with a company’s finances and its reputation. Indeed, cybersecurity is top of the list of worries in a new ‘age of risk’ report by Marsh & McLennan.

Yet once the gift card is identified as a vulnerability, companies might begin to seriously concentrate on protecting anything they produce. From now on, every device and everything that has a value online must have security built-in.

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