Huffington Post tech writer Gil Laroya wrote “The Global Shopping Mall That is the Internet” for the online publication’s Business Blog and included @Pay. In the article, the writer explores the recent history of online payments — from credit cards to PayPal to @Pay. Of course, it’s difficult to discuss online payments without delving into the concern of security, especially since it’s making the headlines so much lately.
“…These online breaches made Target look like a lemonade stand robbery. We’re talking hundreds of millions of bytes of personal data stolen.
So now we have other means at our disposal, like Paypal. These online payment services play a role in hiding your personal info, or at least making your info anonymous to would be thieves. They seem to work, and I admit to using Paypal myself. But they are still web based, and theoretically still hack-able.
Other services like @Pay utilize your email as a way to make payments. This is a novel solution which answers the question of having to log onto a separate website to pay for something, but brings up the issue of email hackers. The bigger picture shows us that online payment will only grow in the coming years.”
The Question of Security
Consumers should be asking questions about security these days. With all the hacking making headlines, it’d good to be aware of what’s going on. The truth is that every system is susceptible to attacks of one kind or another. A key to minimizing the impact and number of attacks is minimizing the value of the information accessible to hackers. With @Pay, there’s very little of value to a hacker.
Say a hacker gets access to your email account: They figure out your password, are logged in, and now can act as you (without you knowing it). And supposed that in your inbox you have two @Pay-enabled emails — one from your favorite charity asking for a donation, and one from your doctor’s office with your latest bill.
If the hacker goes into the charity email and clicks on the “donate” button, a new email is composed that will process your donation when sent. There’s no credit card information contained in either of those emails, and there’s no way to get any more information about you than the fact that you get emails from this organization. So, the worst the hacker could possibly do is give to a charity you support (If you weren’t planning on donating it could be annoying for sure, but hardly catastrophic).
If the hacker goes into the doctor’s email and clicks on the “pay” button, a new email is composed that will process your payment when sent. Again, there’s no credit card information contained in either of those emails, and the only information they now have about you is which medical group bills you. If the hacker submits the payment, now your bill is paid (Now the worst that could happen is that you’re square with your doctor).
For a hacker to take over your email account would not be an easy task. And if they did, @Pay would be the least of your worries. A hacker would be likely to attack much more valuable things, such as your bank account and a litany of other things sitting in your inbox that could benefit them. Your email is equivalent to your wallet, so keep it safe. They won’t garner anything useful from your @Pay emails, but there’s a wealth of other information you should protect. We suggest you do so with Two-Step Authentication. Here’s a great Gizmodo article
on how to set this up on most major accounts.